After launching to the International Space Station on Nov. 12, 2017, NASA's Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration, or OCSD, CubeSat mission was deployed from the Cygnus cargo resupply ship and into low-Earth orbit. The pair of bread loaf-size satellites tested the first high-speed data downlink from a CubeSat to a ground station using lasers. The satellites also flew relatively close together to test proximity operations.
This demonstration is a step toward future missions where multiple small spacecraft operate cooperatively during science and exploration missions, approach each other or another object for in-space observation or servicing, and connect together to form larger systems or networks in space.
More info: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/small_spacecraft/feature/Orbital_Testing_Begins_for_Advanced_Small_Spacecraft_Communications
Video credit: NASA/Ames Research Center
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