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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Fast-steering solutions for cubesat-scale optical communications
Author(s): R. W. Kingsbury; T. Nguyen; K. Riesing; K. Cahoy

Paper Abstract

We describe the design of a compact free-space optical communications module for use on a nanosatellite and present results from a detailed trade study to select an optical fine steering mechanism compatible with our stringent size, weight and power (SWaP) constraints. This mechanism is an integral component of the compact free-space optical communications system that is under development at the MIT Space Systems Laboratory [1]. The overall goal of this project is to develop a laser communications (lasercom) payload that fits within the SWaP constraints of a typical “3U” CubeSat. The SWaP constraints for the entire lasercom payload are 5 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm, 600 g and 10W. Although other efforts are underway to qualify MEMS deformable mirrors for use in CubeSats [2], there has been very little work towards qualifying tip-tilt MEMS mirrors [3].

Sec. II provides additional information on how the fast steering mechanism is used in our lasercom system. Performance requirements and desirable traits of the mechanism are given. In Sec. III we describe the various types of compact tip-tilt mirrors that are commercially available as well as the justification for selecting a MEMS-based device for our application. Sec. IV presents an analysis of the device's transfer function characteristics and ways of predicting this behavior that are suitable for use in the control processor. This analysis is based upon manufacturer-provided test data which was collected at standard room conditions. In the final section, we describe on-going work to build a testbed that will be used to measure device performance in a thermal chamber.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10563, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2014, 105630G (17 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2304229
Show Author Affiliations
R. W. Kingsbury, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
T. Nguyen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
K. Riesing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
K. Cahoy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10563:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2014
Zoran Sodnik; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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