Lasers, Orbital Wi-Fi, and More in the Works for NASA’s Space Internet
In orbit around our planet, hundreds of satellites constantly relay a huge amount of data back and forth, not to mention streaming it down to the surface. But the aging system is nearly at capacity, so NASA is planning a secure, robust successor.
Don’t worry — it’s not as if astronauts are having to get by on dial-up during their stay on the International Space Station. In fact, the ISS has a fairly beefy 300-megabit line — more than 10 times faster than what most people can get at home.
Although the current system is suitable for today’s needs, it may not be so for tomorrow’s. Early this month, NASA posted an official request for information, or RFI, to begin technical discussion of the next generation of space communications. NBC News spoke on the phone with NASA’s Philip Liebrecht and James Schier, who work on the space agency’s space communications platforms, about the plans for a replacement.