PIA26142: Confirmation of DSOC 'First Light' at JPL's Table Mountain
 Mission:  Psyche
 Spacecraft:  Psyche
 Instrument:  Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) 
 Product Size:  720 x 723 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA26142.tif (1.295 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA26142.jpg (89.04 kB)

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The downlink laser signal for NASA's Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) technology demonstration is detected at the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California, on Nov. 14, 2023. The dot inside the green square on the computer screen in this image marks "first light" for the project; an identical signal was also detected at DSOC's superconducting detector array located at Caltech's Palomar Observatory.

A cutting-edge instrument capable of sending and receiving near-infrared signals aboard Psyche, the transceiver locked onto a powerful uplink laser beacon transmitted from the Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory at JPL's Table Mountain Facility near Wrightwood, California. The uplink beacon helped the transceiver aim its downlink laser back to Caltech's Palomar Observatory (which is 100 miles, or 130 kilometers, south of Table Mountain) while automated systems on the transceiver and ground stations fine-tuned its pointing. Test data was also sent via the uplink and downlink lasers simultaneously, a procedure known as "closing the link," a primary objective for the experiment.

DSOC is riding aboard the recently launched Psyche spacecraft and is being configured to send high-bandwidth test data to Earth during its two-year technology demonstration as Psyche travels to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The technology could lead to high-rate data communications with streaming video and high-definition imagery that will help support humanity's next giant leap: when NASA sends astronauts to Mars.

For more information about DSOC, go to: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/dsoc

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