Northrop Grumman completed the installation and integration of a two-way optical relay technology on a satellite the company is building for aÂ Department of Defense mission to demonstrate the potential of laser communications to transmit data from space to the ground.
The company testedÂ theÂ Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload at a facility inÂ Sterling, Va., before it was integratedÂ with the Space Test Program Satellite 6, NASA said Friday.
Orbital ATK, now part of Northrop, secured a $78M contract from the U.S. Air ForceÂ in February 2017 to provideÂ STPSat-6 payload support services.
The team will conduct environmental and compatibility tests to validate if the spacecraft and the Goddard Space Flight Center-built LCRD can operate with each other.
NASA plans to use theÂ International Space Station's Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal to demonstrate the payload sometimeÂ in 2021.