This Telescope Is Shooting a Laser Right at the ISS

Who gave this telescope a light saber? Just kidding: this is, of course, the ESA's Optical Ground Station telescope in Tenerife—in the process of laser tagging the ISS to establish a data connection.

The experiment, which actually took place last October, was a proof-of-concept to show how laser links between Earth and space might work in practice. This experiment successfully established a link with the Space Station as it passed by, 250 miles overhead—though other experiments have established links with satellites up to 22,000 miles away. Currently these links can send data at 1.8 Gbits per second, but that design should soon be scaled up to handle 7.2 Gbit per second. [ESA]

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