Mahima Kaushik, a valued member of the Columbus team, has been recognized by NASA with their prestigious “Shining Star Award” for her outstanding support of the ILLUMA-T project. Mahima built the ILLUMA-T Ground System for Mission Operations innovatively in the cloud (AWS). This award acknowledges the significant contributions individuals make to NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.

ILLUMA-T is a critical component of NASA’s first-ever two-way, end-to-end laser communications relay system. Launched in November 2023, ILLUMA-T works in conjunction with the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) satellite to establish a robust communication channel with the International Space Station. This innovative system utilizes lasers to transmit and receive data, offering significant advantages over traditional radio frequency communication, including much faster data transfer rates, increased security, and improved efficiency.

Mahima’s dedication and expertise were instrumental in the success of ILLUMA-T. Her contributions directly impact NASA’s ability to communicate with spacecraft more effectively, paving the way for future deep space exploration endeavors. We are incredibly proud of Mahima’s achievement and commend her on receiving this well-deserved recognition from NASA.