NASA’s Deep Space Optical Comm sends demo, receives first data

„Achieving first light in the coming months is one of several important DSOC milestones in the coming months, in support of humanity’s next giant leap toward high-data-rate communications capable of transmitting scientific information, high-definition images and streaming video: Sending humans to Marssaid Trudy Cortes, director of technical explanations at NASA headquarters in Washington.

Test data was also transmitted simultaneously over the uplink and downlink lasers, known as „closing the link”, which was the primary objective of the test. Although the technical demonstration does not transmit Psyche mission data, DSOC works closely with the Psyche mission-support team to ensure that operations do not interfere with spacecraft operations.

„The DSOC and Psych Operations teams have to work together,” said Meera Srinivasan, head of operations for DSOC at JBL, adding, „Tuesday morning’s test fully integrated the ground assets and the in-flight transceiver. „It was a formidable challenge, and we still have a lot of work to do, but for the time being, some Able to send, receive and decode data.”

Prior to this feat, the project required checking boxes at several milestones, from removing the protective cover for the in-flight laser transceiver to operating the instrument. Meanwhile, the Psyche spacecraft is carrying out its own experiments, including upgrading its propulsion systems and testing instruments that will be used to study the Psyche asteroid when it arrives there in 2028.

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