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Proceedings Paper

Photon counting detector array algorithms for deep space optical communications
Author(s): Meera Srinivasan; Kenneth S. Andrews; William H. Farr; Andre Wong
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Paper Abstract

For deep-space optical communications systems utilizing an uplink optical beacon, a single-photon-counting detector array on the flight terminal can be used to simultaneously perform uplink tracking and communications as well as accurate downlink pointing at photon-starved (pW=m2) power levels. In this paper, we discuss concepts and algorithms for uplink signal acquisition, tracking, and parameter estimation using a photon-counting camera. Statistical models of detector output data and signal processing algorithms are presented, incorporating realistic effects such as Earth background and detector/readout blocking. Analysis and simulation results are validated against measured laboratory data using state-of-the-art commercial photon-counting detector arrays, demonstrating sub-microradian tracking errors under channel conditions representative of deep space optical links.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 March 2016
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9739, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII, 97390X (15 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2217971
Show Author Affiliations
Meera Srinivasan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kenneth S. Andrews, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
William H. Farr, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Andre Wong, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9739:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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