IEEE Photonics Society

Boston Photonics Society Chapter

Boston Chapter of the IEEE Photonics Society


Oct 15, 2009
7:00 PM

MIT Lincoln Laboratory

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Overview of the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration

Dr. Bryan S. Robinson, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA


Dr. Bryan S. Robinson, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA

Abstract:  In order to support projected data return requirements for future space missions, NASA is developing free-space optical communications technology.  In comparison to current radio-frequency communications capabilities, free space optical communications offers the promise of higher data rates with reduced user burden in terms of required size, weight, and power for transmit and receive terminals.  The Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD), a project being undertaken by MIT Lincoln Laboratory and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, represents NASA’s first attempt to demonstrate optical communications from a lunar orbiting spacecraft to an Earth-based ground receiver.  The LLCD space terminal will be flown on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, presently scheduled to launch in 2012.  LLCD will demonstrate downlink optical communications at rates up to 622 Mbps, uplink optical communications at rates up to 20 Mbps, and two-way time-of-flight measurements with the potential to perform ranging with sub-centimeter accuracy.  In this talk, we will describe the objectives of the LLCD program, give an overview of the LLCD communications link design, and discuss key technologies employed in the space and ground terminals.


Biography:  Bryan S. Robinson received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 2003 for research in the area of semiconductor-based all-optical switching.  He has been working with the Optical Communications Technology group and the Advanced Networks groups at MIT Lincoln Laboratory since 1996.  His research interests include ultrafast photonic packet switching for all-optical networks, applications of integrated photonics, free-space optical communications, and high-sensitivity optical receivers.  He is presently the Systems Engineer for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration.  


Location:  MIT Lincoln Laboratory