Menu
Space X rocket en route to ISS with space laser cargo

Space X rocket en route to ISS with space laser cargo

The rocket is also carrying HD cameras for live streaming of the Earth and some micro satellites

A Space X Falcon rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida on April 18, 2013

A Space X Falcon rocket lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida on April 18, 2013

A Space X Falcon rocket lifted off Friday afternoon for the International Space Station (ISS) from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida.

The mission is the third commercial resupply flight for Space X to the ISS and part of NASA's push to use private launch companies for routine space flight.

The Dragon cargo capsule that sat atop the Falcon rocket was successfully deployed into space about 10 minutes after the 3:25 p.m. Eastern time launch. It is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Sunday.

Dragon is carrying more than 2 tons of cargo and experiments including several cubesat micro satellites and a pair of legs for the Robonaut robot on the ISS. It will also carry four HD cameras that will be placed on the ISS for streaming live video of the Earth on the Internet.

One of the most interesting items of cargo is NASA's Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) test bed, which will test the feasibility of using a laser to transmit data from space to Earth.

Data and video links from the ISS and other NASA spacecraft to Earth are currently carried over radio waves, but the use of a laser could mean much greater bandwidth. NASA says OPALS could realize speeds of around 50Mbps, about the same or faster than that available on many home broadband connections.

The OPALS unit will be robotically taken from the Space X Dragon capsule and mounted onto the exterior of the space station. Once in place, it will begin a three-month mission that will consist of a series of 100-second long tests.

Each will begin when a ground station fires a laser beam towards the OPALS module on the ISS. When that is detected, the unit will use it to lock onto the ground station and fire up its own laser to send back data modulated on the laser beam.

The eventual goal of the tests is a multi-gigabit per second data communications system.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceSpace Xtelecommunicationsatelliterobotics

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments