Aerospace Corp laser delivers 50x increase in data rates to cubesats

Aerospace Corporation announced a successful test of the first space-to-ground laser communications system for cubesats. The test was the second half of the two-part Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) mission. Two 1.5U cubesats in low Earth orbit (LEO) carrying the laser communication system successfully transmitted data at 100 Mbps, which is about 50 times faster than radio-based communication systems used for smaller spacecraft. [caption id="attachment_1747" align="alignleft" width="335"] One of

With smallsat boom, NASA launches pilot Earth science data program

NASA will begin a pilot program this spring to determine whether the agency wants to purchase Earth observation data from the leagues of private small satellites that are orbiting the planet. Twin trends of decreased costs to access space and advancements made in satellite technology has spurred considerable growth in the private smallsat sector. Meanwhile, funding for NASA's own Earth observation operations is increasingly under threat by the Trump administration,