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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Fiber optic cables for transmission of high-power laser pulses in spaceflight applications
Author(s): W. J. Thomes; M. N. Ott; R. F. Chuska; R. C. Switzer; D. E. Blair

Paper Abstract

Lasers with high peak power pulses are commonly used in spaceflight missions for a wide range of applications, from LIDAR systems to optical communications. Due to the high optical power needed, the laser has to be located on the exterior of the satellite or coupled through a series of free space optics. This presents challenges for thermal management, radiation resistance, and mechanical design. Future applications will require multiple lasers located close together, which further complicates the design. Coupling the laser energy into a fiber optic cable allows the laser to be relocated to a more favorable position on the spacecraft. Typical fiber optic termination procedures are not sufficient for injection of these high-power laser pulses without catastrophic damage to the fiber endface. In the current study, we will review the causes of fiber damage during high-power injection and discuss our new manufacturing procedures that overcome these issues to permit fiber use with high reliability in these applications. We will also discuss the proper methods for launching the laser pulses into the fiber to avoid damage and how this is being implemented for current spaceflight missions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105651I (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309144
Show Author Affiliations
W. J. Thomes, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
M. N. Ott, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
R. F. Chuska, MEI Technologies (United States)
R. C. Switzer, MEI Technologies (United States)
D. E. Blair, MEI Technologies (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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