This paper provides an overview of the Mars Laser Communications Demonstration Project, a joint project between NASA s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (JPL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL). It reviews the strawman designs for the flight and ground segments, the critical technologies required, and the concept of operations. It reports preliminary conclusions from the Mars Lasercom Study conducted at MIT/LL and on additional work done at JPL and GSFC. The lasercom flight terminal will be flown on the Mars Telecom Orbiter (MTO) to be launched by NASA in 2009, and will demonstrate a technology which has the potential of vastly improving NASA s ability to communicate throughout the solar system.
Goddard Space Flight Center; Jet Propulsion Laboratory