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NASA’s DSOC Achieves “First Light” with Record-Breaking Data Transmission

Published on November 18, 2023
Current Context: NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) project is a groundbreaking experiment that aims to use laser beams to transmit data from spacecraft in deep space to Earth.
NASA’s DSOC Achieves “First Light” with Record-Breaking Data Transmission
  • DSOC has achieved a historic milestone, beaming data via laser over a record-breaking distance of 400 million kilometers (250 million miles), marking a transformative leap in deep space communication technology.
  • The DSOC experiment is part of the Psyche mission, which will explore a metal-rich asteroid of the same name.
  • The DSOC payload, which is mounted on the Psyche spacecraft, consists of a laser transmitter, a modulator, a pointing assembly, and a camera.
  • The laser transmitter sends pulses of infrared light encoded with data to a ground station on Earth, where a large telescope collects the faint signals and converts them to electrical bits.
  • The modulator can adjust the rate of data transmission, from 10 megabits per second (Mbps) to 200 Mbps, depending on the distance and alignment of the spacecraft and the ground station.
  • The pointing assembly ensures that the laser beam is accurately aimed at the Earth, while the camera helps to locate the ground station and provide feedback for fine-tuning the pointing.


Q.1 Which mission is the DSOC experiment part of?
a. The Psyche mission
b. The Europa Clipper mission
c. The Orion mission
d. The Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) mission
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