Australia installs first space laser optical ground station in southern hemisphere

Recently, my colleagues and I swung a half-tonne telescope onto the roof of the physics building at the University of Western Australia.

For a tense moment, my career hung from a crane hook.

The telescope is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and represents a new generation of space communications using lasers.

Dubbed the Western Australian Optical Ground Station (WAOGS), we hope it will be part of a global network receiving high-definition TV from astronauts on the moon, when NASA returns there in 2024.

So why do we need lasers in space?

It may seem hard to imagine in our age of global streaming services, but transmitting HD video from space is incredibly hard.

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