Established on October 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States government which is responsible for the civilian space program. They are also in charge of any United States civillian research and technology which deals with aeronautics and aerospace.
NASA does have a civillian nature so most of the mission they lead are to promote and research peaceful applications in space science. In fact, almost all U.S. space exploration efforts were led by NASA. Some notable missions include the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the invention of the space shuttle. NASA is also a major supporter of the International Space Station. They have been involved in the development of many useful technologies including the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV), the Space Launch System (SLS), and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). NASA also maintains the Launch Services Program (LSP) which is responsible for many aspects of launch operations including countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
NASA science has a great and beneficial impact on our society. The Earth Observing System (EOS) is a series of satellites which constantly monitors Earth’s land masses, oceans, and atmosphere. The study of heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program allows us to monitor our relationship between the sun and our environment. Programs such as New Horizons allow us to explore bodies throughout the Solar System using advanced robotics. Associate programs such as the Great Observatories are researching various topics in astrophysics to give us a better understanding of our position in the universe.  
The Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) has established communication between an Optical Ground Station (OGS) and a spacecraft orbiting the Moon. Downlink speeds of 622 Mbps and up-link speeds of 20Mbps were achieved for a wavelength of 1550 nm. This demonstration has served as a reference point for future programs and research.
The Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is an upcoming mission to demonstrate the feasibility of FSO communication between geostationary satellites and optical ground stations. It’s payload will be carried by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s experimental STPSat-6 spacecraft. The optical terminals being used are a result of a joint effort between NASA and MIT Lincoln Labs, and are expected to be capable of 1.24 Gbps in their Gen-1 state.
The Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) is a spacecraft communication instrument developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and tested on the International Space Station to demonstrate the feasibility of spacecraft to ground station links.
Optical-to-Orion is a program expected to use lasercom for real-time 4K video transmission from the Orion spacecraft in cislunar orbit.
NASA’s Deep-Space Optical Communication (DSOC) program is expected to demonstrate optical communications from deep space to validate link acquisition laser pointing control and high photon efficiency signaling.