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Proceedings Paper

Comparative study of optical and rf communication systems for a Mars mission
Author(s): Hamid Hemmati; Keith E. Wilson; Miles Sue; Daniel L. Rascoe; F. Lansing; Michael D. Wilhelm; L. Harcke; Che Jen Chen
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Paper Abstract

We have performed a study on telecommunication systems for a hypothetical mission to Mars. The objective of the study was to evaluate and compare the benefits that microwave (X-band and Ka-band) and optical communications technologies afford to future missions. The telecommunication systems were required to return data after launch and in-orbit at 2.7 AU with daily data volumes of 0.1, 1, or 10 Gbits. Space-borne terminals capable of delivering each of the three data rates were proposed and characterized in terms of mass, power consumption, size, and cost. The estimated parameters for X-band, Ka-band, and optical frequencies are compared and presented here. For data volumes of 0.1 and 1 Giga-bit per day, the X-band downlink system has a mass 1.5 times that of Ka-band, and 2.5 times that of optical system. Ka-band offered about 20% power saving at 10 Gbit/day over X-band. For all data volumes, the optical communication terminals were lower in mass than the rf terminals. For data volumes of 1 and 10 Gb/day, the space-borne optical terminal also had a lower required dc power. In all three cases, optical communications had a slightly higher development cost for the space terminal.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 1996
PDF: 19 pages
Proc. SPIE 2699, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VIII, (22 April 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.238410
Show Author Affiliations
Hamid Hemmati, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Keith E. Wilson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Miles Sue, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Daniel L. Rascoe, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
F. Lansing, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael D. Wilhelm, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
L. Harcke, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Che Jen Chen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2699:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VIII
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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