A miniature satellite was sent in the space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on October 8. NASA has announced that first nano-satellite has started sending signals and is working absolutely fine. The second OCSD mission is scheduled to be launched in February next year.
NASA and The Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, California made the announcement that Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) CubeSat spacecraft is in orbit and operational too. In the near future CubeSat is playing a vital role in exploration, technology demonstration, scientific research and educational investigations.
This is so because the cost involved in providing platforms for NASA missions will become way too less including planetary space exploration, Earth observations, fundamental Earth and space science. CubeSat also allows an inexpensive means so as to give golden chance to students to be a part of satellite development, operation and exploitation through real-world, hands-on research and development experience.
Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA headquarters in Washington DC was of the view, “Technology demonstration missions like OCSD are driving exploration.” Further he said, “By improving the communication capability of small spacecraft to support data-intensive science missions, OCSD will advance the potential to become a more viable option for mission planners.”
Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration popularly known as OCSD is all set to launch its first of six NASA-managed technology demonstration mission by using CubeSats. The mission will enable new uses for these miniature satellites which measure about four inches per side and that’s something to be applaud at.
OCSD is equipped with laser which is hard-mounted to the spacecraft body while the CubeSat will control direction of the beam and this is the reason why it differs from other space-based laser communication systems. Consequently all this will make the laser system more compact than anything that has been previously launched in the space.
One more function of CubeSat among others is that it will evaluate the ability to point a small satellite accurately as it demonstrates data transfer by laser at rates of up to 200 mb per second – a factor of 100 increase over current high-end CubeSat communications systems.
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