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Northrop Integrates NASA’s Laser Comms Relay Demo Payload With DoD Experimental Spacecraft

LCRD payload
LCRD payload
LCRD payload
LCRD payload

Northrop Grumman completed the installation and integration of a two-way optical relay technology on a satellite the company is building for a Department of Defense mission to demonstrate the potential of laser communications to transmit data from space to the ground.

The company tested the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload at a facility in Sterling, Va., before it was integrated with the Space Test Program Satellite 6, NASA said Friday.

Orbital ATK, now part of Northrop, secured a $78M contract from the U.S. Air Force in February 2017 to provide STPSat-6 payload support services.

The team will conduct environmental and compatibility tests to validate if the spacecraft and the Goddard Space Flight Center-built LCRD can operate with each other.

NASA plans to use the International Space Station's Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal to demonstrate the payload sometime in 2021.

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