U.S. Space Development Agency: Inexpensive, interoperable optical lasercom is a key challenge

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — The U.S. Defense Department's Space Development Agency has already ordered several dozen optical laser com terminals from three suppliers for its 20-satellite Transport Layer mission to launch in 2022 but still views the technology as a high-risk element, SDA Director Derek Tournear said.

While the technology itself is not new, he said the challenge is bringing laser communications terminals’ (LCT) prices down.

“What is new is the ability to do them at a commoditized price point, to do the optical cross links . . .

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