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Lasers & Sources

Donald Cornwell plenary talk: NASA's Optical Communications Program: 2015 and Beyond

Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2015

5 March 2015, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201503.19

Donald Cornwell, NASA Headquarters, Space Communications and Navigation Program (USA)NASA and MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in 2013 demonstrated the first two-way, high-rate (622 Mbps) laser communications from the Moon on the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration.

This plenary session expands upon the results from that demonstration and expounds upon how it has enabled an aggressive new program at NASA, which now includes a laser communications relay demonstration (LCRD) from geo-synchronous orbit in 2018, a low-Earth-orbit (LEO) laser communications terminal on the International Space Station (ISS) that will relay data through LCRD in 2019, and NASA's current effort to develop the Deep-space Optical Terminal (DOT) for Mars and beyond in 2020.

Don Cornwell currently leads the Advanced Communications Division within the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program at NASA Headquarters. Dr. Cornwell received his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland College Park and has been awarded 8 patents for his work on Raman amplifiers for fiber optic communication.