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Proceedings Paper

Low-cost optical communications ground terminal architecture for inter-planetary and high data rate communications links
Author(s): J. Garnham; P. Shubert; R. Pierson
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Paper Abstract

The promise of Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) is the potential for very high data rate links over long distances without issues of radio frequency (RF) allocation and interference issues. The desired very high data rates implies a combination of high laser power and large transmit and receive aperture sizes. Increasing the size of the receiving ground terminal will be significantly less expensive than increasing the satellite laser power and satellite transmitter telescope size. Unfortunately, telescope costs scale at roughly D2.6 implying a very high increase in cost for a moderate increase in FSOC Ground Terminal (FGT) energy capture area. One way to mitigate this is through a combination of smaller telescopes. There is the potential for additional savings if adaptive optics is used to enable coupling the received signal into optical fiber followed by a fiber laser pre-amplifier. The use of a fiber-laser preamplifier enables very high detection efficiency for very small optical signals at a low cost compared to other detectors with similar performance that require cryogenic cooling. Adaptive Optics (AO) systems can be very expensive as the size of the telescope increases. However, AO components for small telescopes are readily available and much less expensive.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 February 2018
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 10524, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXX, 105241A (15 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2291173
Show Author Affiliations
J. Garnham, Applied Technology Associates (United States)
P. Shubert, Applied Technology Associates (United States)
R. Pierson, Applied Technology Associates (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10524:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXX
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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