CACI International has delivered a free-space optical modem as part of the Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, Low-Earth Orbit, User Modem and Amplifier program to MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Lincoln Laboratory will integrate CACI’s laser communications mission technology with other equipment for delivery to NASA.
“Space-based missions are producing larger volumes of data and demanding higher data rates, increasing the need for new communications technology,” said Linda Braun, CACI vice president of photonics solutions. “CACI’s decades of experience supporting the full lifecycle of space ground, launch and operations combined with innovative resilient communications technology enables these transformative solutions for NASA’s missions.”
The User Modem and Amplifier, known as the ILLUMA program, provides high-bandwidth optical communication from the International Space Station to the Earth and back via the LCRD mission satellite, which will deploy in geosynchronous orbit.
CACI’s laser communications technology for the ILLUMA program intends to transform the way data, video and other information is sent and received using lasers to encode and transmit data at rates 10 to 100 times faster than current radio frequencies, using less mass and power.
CACI’s recent acquisition of SA Photonics also provides a combined portfolio of innovation and scaled manufacturing capabilities.
ILLUMA will be launched in 2023 and installed on the ISS, where it will serve as a low-Earth terminal for NASA’s multiyear LCRD mission to demonstrate high-speed, laser-based communications.