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Proceedings Paper

High-elevation terrestrial validation of Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) lasercom system at 1.1 Gbit/s
Author(s): Scott H. Bloom; Victor J. Chan; C. S. Liu
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Paper Abstract

Laser communications between high flying aircraft such as high altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and between the aircraft and the ground (weather permitting) offers the potential to transfer extremely high amounts of information faster and with a much smaller package than is possible using current radio frequency and microwave technologies. This can be especially important in transferring time sensitive reconnaissance information because the value of the data can deteriorate rapidly with time. A capability to downlink from a satellite to an aircraft can provide all weather performance, and multiple data transfers for every satellite orbit. Over the last few years, BMDO has funded a number of technology efforts through the US Army Space and Strategic Defense Command reducing the risks associated with laser communications. One of these efforts, at ThermoTrex Corporation in San Diego, California, is now being carried forward towards an Advanced Technology Demonstration. The program will lead to the demonstration of high data rate communication of 270 MBPS (Mega Bits Per Second) to 1.2 GBPS (Giga Bits Per Second) between high altitude aircraft and between a satellite and the ground. The Laser Communications Terminals incorporate Atomic Line Filter technology for background light rejection during acquisition, reactionless Roto-Lok offset cable drive gimbals for fast slewing and high accuracy pointing, and direct digital modulation of semiconductor diode lasers detected with low noise avalanche photodiodes. We present results of a 42 km, 1.2 GBPS laser communications demonstration performed at NASA/JPL Table Mountain facility in Wrightwood, CA. Also presented are designs for a space qualifiable satellite terminal presently under construction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 April 1995
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 2381, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VII, (20 April 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.207399
Show Author Affiliations
Scott H. Bloom, ThermoTrex Corp. (United States)
Victor J. Chan, ThermoTrex Corp. (United States)
C. S. Liu, ThermoTrex Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2381:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VII
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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