NASA’s latest mission to test laser communication in space launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral early on December 7.
The Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is hosted by the US Department of Defense’s Space Test Program Satellite 6, which was launched by an Atlas V rocket at 5:19 am.
NASA said LCRD will relay data in the “first operational optical communications system for human spaceflight.”
“Currently, most NASA missions use radio frequency communications to send data to and from spacecraft,” the agency said. “Radio waves have been used in space communications since the beginning of space exploration and have a proven track record of success. However, as space missions generate and collect more data, the need for enhanced communications capabilities becomes paramount.” Credit: NASA via Storyful