fSONA Chief Scientist Assists NASA with Mars Laser Communications

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fSONA CommunicationsÂ? co-founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Stephen Mecherle recently assisted a NASA team preparing to launch a mission to Mars in 2009 that will attempt to demonstrate laser-based communications between the Earth and Mars.

fSONA Communications’ co-founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Stephen Mecherle recently assisted a NASA team preparing to launch a mission to Mars in 2009 that will attempt to demonstrate laser-based communications between the Earth and Mars.

The Mars Laser Communications Demonstration Project is a joint project between NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (JPL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL). By using free-space optics technology to communicate with the Mars Telecom Orbiter (MTO) the MLCD project will demonstrate a technology which will vastly improve NASA’s ability to communicate throughout the solar system. NASA hopes that this communications system will enable an affordable, virtual presence throughout the solar system by increasing volume and timeliness of space data transfer.

The Mars Laser Communication Demonstration (MLCD) Project Mission Concept Review (MCR) co-chairman, Robert Menrad, realized that for the MCR to be successful it would require special skills in the area of theoretical and operational laser communications. During a search within the laser communications community, Dr. Mecherle’s peers recommended him as a very strong candidate for this review.

According to Mr. Menrad, Dr. Mecherle’s “demonstrated technical expertise, team-oriented manner and obvious personal dedication were instrumental in our ability to conduct an effective review. His willingness to probe the material being presented with tightly focused questions permitted the board to investigate large amounts of material efficiently.” As well, he brought “a unique blend of technical knowledge, operational expertise and strong communication skills” to the project.

“We, at fSONA, are proud that our co-founder Stephen Mecherle was able to use his expertise in laser communications to assist NASA with their review of the Mars Laser Communications Demonstration project,” said President and CEO, Theresa Carbonneau. “It’s very gratifying to be able to be a part of such an exciting and challenging project.”

Stephen Mecherle is a renowned expert on laser communications - he has chaired the SPIE Photonics West conference “Free Space Laser Communications Technologies” for the past 12 years and also teaches a course on Free Space Laser Communications at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).

About fSONA

fSONA Communications was founded in 1997 to deliver wireless solutions that simplify and speed network deployments for carrier, service provider and enterprise customers around the world. The SONAbeam™ series of free space optical (FSO) networking products use an unlicensed, wireless technology operating at speeds up to 2.5 Gbps and distances up to 5km. SONAbeam™ avoids the cost of digging to lay fiber, licensing for radio frequencies, is immune to interference, and is extremely secure. SONAbeam™ is operational in 28 countries around the globe and was named Product of the Year by Network Magazine; fSONA is an ISO 9001 registered company. For more information visit http://www.fsona.com or http://www.free-space-optics.org

Contact:

Jennifer Walsh

1-877-463-7662

604-273-6333

jwalsh@fsona.com

fSONA and SONAbeam™ are trademarks of fSONA, Inc. All other trademarks are properties of their respective companies.

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