MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers are part of a team
honored by NASA

The Robert H. Goddard Award recognizes an innovation in space-based optical communication systems

In a ceremony on 22 March at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland, Chris Scolese, director of NASA GSFC, presented the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Engineering Award to the team who developed the Optical Multiple Access architecture for NASA's proposed Space Mobile Network, an initiative aimed at providing users with a space-based communications and navigation experience that is comparable to the experience users achieve over a terrestrial mobile network.

Don Boroson, an MIT Lincoln Laboratory Fellow, Bryan Robinson, assistant leader of the Laboratory’s Optical Communications Technology Group, and NASA colleagues John Rush, Ken Perko, and Bob Menrad were recognized for "contributions to the future of space communications and navigation through an original laser-based multiple access capability."

At the awards ceremony held at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Chris Scolese, left, director of the center, presented the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Engineering Award plaque to Don Boroson, who accepted on behalf of the team that developed an innovative optics architecture.At the awards ceremony held at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Chris Scolese, left, director of the center, presented the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement for Engineering Award plaque to Don Boroson, who accepted on behalf of the team that developed an innovative optics architecture.
 

The Space Mobile Network program is the outcome of the GSFC-led Earth Regimes Network Evolution Study (ERNESt), which was chartered by NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Program to investigate the feasibility of and requirements for a next-generation near-Earth space communications and navigation architecture. The Optical Multiple Access technology enables a low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellite to use a very small optical terminal for transmitting data to a ground station via an array of geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites acting as relays. Because each GEO satellite carries an optical demand-access system that can detect when a LEO satellite signals an intent to transmit via the GEO array, communications do not have to be preplanned but can be practically on demand. Optical Multiple Access technology is predicted to have a significant impact on future space communications architectures envisioned by NASA and other organizations.

"The development of the Optical Multiple Access architecture is a great example of how Lincoln Laboratory engineers, with their access to the latest technologies, can collaborate with government agencies, such as NASA, to develop novel solutions to important national problems," said Robinson.

Posted April 2016

 

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