Laser Communications from the Moon

October 5, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm America/New York Timezone
Verizon Technology Center
60 Sylvan Rd
Waltham, MA 02451

Communications Society and co-sponsored with the Photonics Society

Don Boroson, MIT-LL

This meeting is preceded by dinner with our guest speaker at Bertucci’s, 475 Winter St, Waltham, MA at 5:30 PM.

Engineers have been trying to solve the free-space, high-rate laser communications problem for several decades. However, it is only since about 2001 that the technology has really taken off, with LEO and GEO systems successfully demonstrated by teams around the world. Then, in 2013, MIT Lincoln Laboratory built and operated NASA’s Moon-to-Earth high rate duplex lasercom system called LLCD, the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration. This system successfully demonstrated data rates up to 622 Mbps from a lunar-orbiting unmanned spacecraft to each of several optical ground terminals, and up to 20 Mbps on the uplink. The error-free links were used to transmit large data files much faster than ever demonstrated at lunar ranges, real-time spacecraft commands and telemetry, and high-definition video, both recorded and live, to the great amusement of the observers in the ground operations center. The wide bandwidths of both the uplink and downlink optical signals were also configured to achieve real-time continuous ranging with an accuracy better than one centimeter whenever the comm links were running.

The talk will give an overview of the system and its novel designs as well as the mission operations and lasercom performance. It will also discuss the after effects of the mission, including a quick snapshot of the ongoing effort to fly a similar terminal on the upcoming manned Orion missions.

Don Boroson, Laboratory Fellow at MIT-LL

Don Boroson received his BSE and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. He has spent his entire career at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he is now a Laboratory Fellow in the Communications Division. Active in the lasercom community for 30 years, Dr. Boroson has led a number of projects designing, modeling, building, and testing high data rate laser communications systems for space applications. Recently, he acted as the Principal Investigator and Lincoln Program Manager for the NASA Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration project, which set many records including being the first laser communications system to operate at lunar distances. Don is the author of many journal and conference papers, and is a Fellow of the SPIE.

Please circulate to interested parties.

Venue Note. This is our venue at the new Verizon Technology Center Campus in Waltham.

The meeting begins at 7 PM at the new meeting auditorium at the Verizon Technology Center. The address is 60 Sylvan Road, Waltham, MA 02451. The entrance is by the far corner – with the picnic tables out front – and not the tower or the new building. It is most easily reached by the West Street entrance.

Important Note: Verizon Technology Center requests the names of the meeting attendees in advance of the meeting. If you plan to attend, please send a note via e-mail with your name to John Nitzke at by Wednesday, October 4th .

The meeting is preceded by dinner at Bertucci’s, 475 Winter St, Waltham at 5:30 PM. The speaker will be joining us at dinner.

Directions to Bertucci’s restaurant in Waltham: Take Exit 27B on I95/128, heading west on Winter Street. After exiting, stay all the way to the right and take the first right turn into the shopping plaza.

Please let Bob Malupin know if you plan to attend the dinner at Bertucci’s. Bob can be contacted at .

Directions to Verizon Technology Center (old Verizon Labs location), 60 Sylvan Rd. campus, Waltham, MA 02451:

Take Exit 27B on I95/128, heading west on Winter Street. Stay all the way to the right. Verizon Technology Center is 1/2 mile ahead. At the second traffic light, turn left onto WEST ST. and then take the first right (at the Verizon sign) which leads into the Verizon campus. Take the first left. The building and entrance for the meeting are on your right. Note that the entrance to the auditorium area is by the far corner – with the picnic tables out front – and not the tower or the new building.