Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science

Mission Summary

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.


Acronym: OPALS
 
Type: Instrument
 
Status: Current
 
Launch Date: April 18, 2014
3:25 p.m. EDT (7:25 p.m. UTC)
 
Launch Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
 
Target: Earth
 
OPALS and the Moon NASA Beams 'Hello, World!' Video from Space via Laser

› Read more

Flight Engineer Steve Swanson sent this image of the SpaceX Dragon JPL Cargo Launched to Space Station

› Read more

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) International Space Station to Beam Video via Laser Back to Earth

› Read more