“The goal of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration project is to prove the utility of bidirectional optical communications relay services between geosynchronous orbit and Earth. The project supports the advanced communications, navigation, and avionics exploration key focus areas. This effort will prove optical communications technology in an operational setting, providing data rates up to 100 times faster than today’s radio frequency-based communication systems. The demonstration will measure and characterize the system performance over a variety of conditions, develop operational procedures, assess applicability for future missions, and provide an on-orbit capability for test and demonstration of standards for optical relay communications. This capability, if successfully demonstrated, could be quickly infused into NASA missions, other Federal agencies, and U.S. satellite manufacturers and operators given the rising demand for bandwidth.
Laser Communications Relay Demonstration will fly as a hosted payload with the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program (STPSat-6). Upon a successful flight demonstration, NASA will provide the communications industry with access to the integrated system to test these new capabilities for commercial applications.” wiki