Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD)

  • IASbaba
  • December 8, 2021
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Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD)

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Sci and tech

Context NASA has launched its new Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), its first-ever laser communications system. 

Key takeaways 

  • The LCRD will help the agency test optical communication in space.
  • Currently, most NASA spacecraft use radio frequency communications to send data.
  • Optical communications will help increase the bandwidth 10 to 100 times more than radio frequency systems.

The working

  • LCRD has two optical terminals – one to receive data from a user spacecraft, and the other to transmit data to ground stations.
  • The modems will translate the digital data into laser signals.
  • This will then be transmitted via encoded beams of light. 
  • These capabilities make LCRD NASA’s first two-way, end-to-end optical relay, the agency said in a release.

Do you know? 

Laser VS radio

  • Laser communications and radio waves use different wavelengths of light.
  • Laser uses infrared light and has a shorter wavelength than radio waves. This will help the transmission of more data in a short time. 

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