fSONA Chief Scientist Assists NASA with Mars Laser Communications
The Company
News & Events
fSONA In The News
Press Releases
Newsletter Signup
Newsletter Archive
Career Listings
Media & PR
Media Kit
Register for Updates
Address & Directions

Vancouver, Canada – May 14, 2004– 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 Systems is recognized as the preferred provider of optical wireless solutions for government, enterprise and service provider markets around the globe. Leveraging leading edge advancements in 1550nm optical transmission, the SONAbeam™ family of systems, based on free-space-optics (FSO), use a globally unlicensed, wireless technology to provide speeds up to 2.5 Gbps over distances up to 7km. For more information visit or

Further Information
For more information about fSONA, SONAbeam or Free-Space Optical Wireless, please contact:


fSONA and SONAbeam® are trademarks of fSONA Networks. All other trademarks are properties of their respective companies.