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Proceedings Paper

Inter-island optical link demonstration using high-data-rate pulse-position modulation
Author(s): Michael Bacher; Felix Arnold; Björn Thieme
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Paper Abstract

The growing data-rate demand on satellite communication systems has led to the increased interest in optical space communication solutions for uplinks and downlinks between satellites and ground stations. As one example for applications that benefit from higher data-rates offered by optical links, RUAG Space studied an uplink scenario from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to a Geostationary Orbit (GEO), under the European Space Agency project formally known as “Optical Communications Transceiver for Atmospheric Links” (OCTAL). Particularly suitable for optical links through turbulent atmospheres are robust Pulse Position Modulation (PPM) schemes. Communication electronics using a Multi-Pulse PPM (MPPM) scheme have been developed, increasing the data-rate compared to traditional PPM at a constant peak-to-average ratio while allowing a widely configurable data-rate range. The communication system was tested together with a newly developed receiver and transmitter at a wavelength of 1055nm in a field test campaign on the Canary Islands, where the transmitter telescope was located on La Palma while the receiver was installed within the ESA Optical Ground Station on Tenerife. The nearly horizontal link between the two islands with a link distance of 142km allowed validation of relevant system performances under stringent atmospheric conditions. A data-rate of more than 360Mbps could be demonstrated using MPPM, while nearly 220Mbps could be achieved with traditional PPM, well exceeding the targeted data-rate of the studied UAV-to-GEO scenario. Following an introduction on the applied MPPM schemes, the architecture of the test setup is described, different modulation schemes are compared and the test results of this Inter-Island Test Campaign performed in October 2012 are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 March 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8971, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVI, 89710T (6 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2041672
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Bacher, RUAG Space AG (Switzerland)
Felix Arnold, RUAG Space AG (Switzerland)
Björn Thieme, RUAG Space AG (Switzerland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8971:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVI
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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