The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science, or OPALS, is a technology demonstration aboard the International Space Station designed to test the use of focused laser energy for space communications. OPALS arrived at the space station on April 20, 2014, aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft and is slated to run for a prime mission of 90 days.

A test of the new technology, which engineers predict will vastly improve the data rates for future spacecraft communications, was performed on June 5, 2014, when NASA successfully beamed a high-definition video message of "Hello, World!" 260 miles from the International Space Station to Earth.

Mission Events

April 20: OPALS arrives at the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft

June 5, 2014: NASA successfully beams the transmission of "Hello, World!" as a video message 260 miles from the International Space Station to Earth. It is the first 175-megabit communication for OPALS.