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Build A Lasercom System

About This Course

Free-space laser communication (lasercom) is poised to revolutionize space-based data transmission by enabling links with higher data rates and longer ranges than are practically achievable with radio-frequency systems. MIT Lincoln Laboratory and NASA recently demonstrated a record-breaking high-data-rate lasercom link from a spacecraft orbiting the moon to ground stations on Earth with the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD). This class will provide students with hands-on experience designing and building a basic lasercom system. Lectures will provide an overview of lasercom concepts and students will apply these principles by building their own free-space lasercom systems and will compete for a best project award.


The prerequisites are covered in the first few modules of this course.

Course Staff

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Dr. David Caplan

Biography of instructor/staff member #1

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Dr. Richard Kaminsky

Dr. Richard D. Kaminsky is an Electrical Engineer specializing in Control Systems and Embedded Computing. Since 2011, he has been developing scientific real-time systems at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, initially in Group 76 (Control Systems) and presently in Group 67 (Optical Communications Technology).

Previously, Richard worked at Raytheon on radar servo systems as a Sr. Principal Systems Engineer. Before that he worked in Quantum’s Advanced Technology Lab on magnetic tape drives, in Digital Equipment Corp.’s high-performance magnetic disk drives group, and as an independent software developer during the 1990s Internet boom. He received his B.S. EE degree from WPI, M.S. EE from Caltech, and Ph.D. EE from UMass at Amherst.

His professional interests are in the area of real-time computing on heterogeneous (processor / FPGA / GPU) platforms. His present focus is on the R&D of low SWaP-C, reliable, free-space optical communications equipment.

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Dr. Robert Schulein

Biography of instructor/staff member #3

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Katia Shtyrkova

Biography of instructor/staff member #4

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