The 29th SpaceX commercial resupply services (CRS) mission for NASA carries scientific experiments and technology demonstrations.
The uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than Nov. 5.
Including studies of enhanced optical communications and measurement of atmospheric waves.
NASA’s ILLUMA-T investigation tests technology to provide enhanced data communication capabilities on the space station.
A terminal mounted on the station’s exterior uses laser or optical communications to send high-resolution information to the agency’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) system.
The system uses invisible infrared light and can send and receive information at higher data rates than traditional radio frequency systems.
The ILLUMA-T demonstration also paves the way for placing laser communications terminals on spacecraft orbiting the Moon or Mars.
Laser communications can supplement the radio frequency systems that most space-based missions currently use to send data to and from Earth.
According to acting ILLUMA-T project manager Glenn Jackson at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, laser systems are smaller.
The Atmospheric Waves Experiment is managed by Goddard for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.