NASA Innovations in Space Communications and Navigation, The Decade of Light



NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Program is evolving critical and transformational technologies, as well as advancing standards and regulations, to enable robust communication and navigation services to NASA’s human and robotic missions as well as creating business opportunities for our commercial space industry. Through these efforts, SCaN is pushing towards an interoperable space environment to include an international community of governments, industry, and academia; where future users can roam between space networks that provide flexible and robust services from space and ground systems. NASA’s “Decade of Light” reflects the development of new optical communications and navigation technologies and techniques to enhance data throughput through all domains of space and enable new means of distributing ultra-precise time and position. This interoperable architecture leverages transformational technologies such as: optical communications, ultra-wideband radios, hybrid optical and radio frequency antennas, advanced multiple access protocols, cognitive networks, and software-defined radios with delay/disruption tolerant networking capabilities, and a Space Mobile Network that will test the potential of quantum communications. SCaN is demonstrating these technologies and partnering with industry and other government agencies to mature the capabilities and maintain U.S. prominence in space. Mr. Jim Schier, Chief Architect for the NASA SCaN Program, will discuss these advanced applications and their integration into emerging space networks intended to serve all society.