More laser advances

There isn’t much in the universe cooler than lasers. Pirates with lasers. Ninjas with lasers. Frikkin sharks with frikkin laser beams on their frikkin heads. Undead killer zombies with lasers. And, of course, undead killer pirate ninja zombie sharks with frikkin lasers on their frikkin heads.

Given the lack of all of the above (with the slight exception of attempts by the military to create some joined sets of the above)in the normal lives of normal (ish) people, we have to settle for cool laser news as it bubbles up to the surface of the intArw3b.

Artemis, the European Space Agency Advanced Relay and Technology Mission Satellite, successfully relayed optical laser links from an aircraft in early December. These airborne laser links, established over a distance of 40 000 km during two flights at altitudes of 6000 and 10 000 metres, represent a world first.

The relay was set up through six two-way optical links between a Mystère 20 equipped with the airborne laser optical link LOLA (Liaison Optique Laser Aéroportée) and the SILEX laser link payload on board ARTEMIS in its geostationary orbital position at 36 000 kilometres altitude: a feat equivalent to targeting a golf ball over the distance between Paris and Brussels.

These tests were made by Astrium SAS (France), the prime constructor for both LOLA and SILEX, as part of the airborne laser optical link programme conducted by the DGA (French MoD procurement agency) from its Flight Test Centre at Istres, in the south of France. The ESA ground station of Redu, Belgium, also contributed to this success by managing the Artemis SILEX payload operations.

Wow. That is so cool. Laser links between 2 moving airborne craft, bounced between six linking stations. Do the math, and you’ll find that connection runs about 130 ms one-way best case. That means if this system were available all the time, you could Quake in the air at around dial-up ping rates. Not bitchin’ fast, but certainly respectable given the magic necessary to make a link at all. I don’t think that’s what the company is trying to achieve, but pr0n and gaming drive almost all technology advances any more, so that’s probably where the first good use of this technology will show up.

[tags]Airborne craft 40000 km laser connectivity, The light – she moves so fast[/tags]