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We present an efficient implementation of a coded modulation for the deep space optical channel. NASA designed this so called serially concatenated pulse position modulation (SCPPM) code to provide an optical link that can operate within one dB signal energy of the Shannon capacity during a nominal mission condition from Mars. Here, we describe some of the challenges in realizing the SCPPM decoder on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Through various architectural optimizations, we achieve a 6 Mbps decoder on a single FPGA. Moreover, we demonstrate that it is possible to communicate reliably on an efficient bits-per-photon count in an end-to-end SCPPM coded system.