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Proceedings Paper

Achieving operational two-way laser acquisition for OPALS payload on the International Space Station
Author(s): Matthew J. Abrahamson; Bogdan V. Oaida; Oleg Sindiy; Abhijit Biswas
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Paper Abstract

The Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) experiment was installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2014. Developed as a technology demonstration, its objective was to experiment with space-to-ground optical communications transmissions from Low Earth Orbit. More than a dozen successful optical links were established between a Wrightwood, California–based ground telescope and the OPALS flight terminal from June 2014 to September 2014. Each transmission required precise bi-directional pointing to be maintained between the space-based transmitter and ground-based receiver. This was accomplished by acquiring and tracking a laser beacon signal transmitted from the ground telescope to the OPALS flight terminal on the ISS. OPALS demonstrated the ability to nominally acquire the beacon within three seconds at 25° elevation and maintain lock within 140 μrad (3σ) for the full 150-second transmission duration while slewing at rates up to 1°/sec. Additional acquisition attempts in low elevation and weather-challenged conditions provided valuable insight on the optical link robustness under off-nominal operational conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2015
PDF: 21 pages
Proc. SPIE 9354, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVII, 935408 (16 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2182473
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew J. Abrahamson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Bogdan V. Oaida, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Oleg Sindiy, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Abhijit Biswas, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9354:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVII
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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