Lasers beam ISS data to Earth on heels of recent NASA LRO demonstration

Moscow, Russia--On the heels of a recent laser-based free-space optical communication demonstration between Earth and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) by NASA, United Press International (UPI) reports that Russian astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have transferred scientific data using a laser communication channel for the first time, officials say.

Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos reported Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko used the station's Laser Communication System to transfer information through the Earth's atmosphere at a rate of 125 megabytes per second from an on-board laser terminal.

The total of 400 megabytes of data including earth imagery and telemetric information was received by the Arkhyz ground station in the North Caucasus, according to RIA Novosti (see http://en.rian.ru/science/20130129/179111471.html).

The Russian astronauts are member of ISS Expedition 34 along with mission commander and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn as flight engineers.

SOURCE: United Press International; http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/01/29/Space-station-laser-used-to-send-data/UPI-79141359503825/

IMAGE: Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station have used its laser to beam data back to Earth. (Courtesy NASA)

Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station have used its laser to beam data back to Earth. (Courtesy NASA)

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