The Future Of Deep Space Communication04:21
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Artist’s concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft in orbit above the moon as dust scatters light during the lunar sunset. LADEE will be launched Friday. (NASA/Dana Berry)
Artist’s concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft in orbit above the moon as dust scatters light during the lunar sunset. LADEE will be launched Friday. (NASA/Dana Berry)

A spacecraft the size of a subcompact car is set blast off Friday night from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

If all goes well, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) will spend the next 30 days cruising to the moon, another 40 days doing engineering check-outs and adjusting its lunar orbit, and then 100 days making scientific measurements

On board the satellite is an instrument that could represent the future of deep space communication.

NASA’s Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) is going to be launched into the moon’s orbit, and it will send communications back to Earth using lasers, instead of the conventional radio waves.

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This segment aired on September 6, 2013.

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