laser Antenna?

So heard today on public radio that NASA may be using laser antennas to send and receive information to astronauts in space. According to the report, laser Antenna are faster, more accurate, carry more data, more reliable, etc.Questions:+ Currently possible?+ possible UAV application?+ Expensive?

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  • Laser communications systems can be easily deployed since they are inexpensive, small, low power and do not
    require any radio interference studies........

    Regards,
    UNMANNEDENGINEERIA

  • I think there is more merit to this than meets the eye. We are already making very good quality gimbals. These can be used to mount the optics. The only limitation I see is that the laser has to be over 5mW to get range over 200m or so. Plenty of hobbyists are using fixed laser data links for LOS house to house data transfer.
  • And you thought aiming a dish or multi-element yagi was going to be difficult.

    Benefits of a laser is that its signal cannot be intercepted unless a receiver is in the direct path of the light beam.

    Dis-advantages are that a laser beam can be scatteredin the slightest atmospheric haze, it requires optics to receive signals , cannot transmit to more than one point unless there are multiple emitters aimed to each location, close in flying would require a NASA sized budget just for tracking.

    Some fun links though

    http://www.pasco.com/prodCatalog/SE/SE-8793_laser-communication-kit/

    http://www.colby.edu/personal/b/bcshutt/alc2.html

    g

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