Whitepaper #362 in the Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. Main topics: infrastructure/workforce/other programmatic. Additional topics: research tools and infrastructure.
For end-to-end support of decadal research strategies, a communications infrastructure is needed to improve data returned from deep space. Optical communications must be a part of a comprehensive solution as it provides 20x the data rate of RF frequencies. Based on data, maintaining or accelerating the build-out to form an Optical Ground Station Network for deep space is recommended.