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Proceedings Paper

Pointing, acquisition, and tracking demonstration system for laser communications
Author(s): Thomas H. Ebben; C. C. Varner; K. A. Parrish; Robert G. Marshalek; David L. Begley
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Paper Abstract

A laboratory development model (LDM) to demonstrate pointing, acquisition, and tracking (PAT) as applied to laser communications would provide valuable data as to efficiencies of different communication scenarios and network concepts. Such a system was designed, constructed, and tested to perform the PAT functions and to measure the effects on an actual laser communication link. Three PAT concepts were investigated for simulation. The first is an open-loop, one-way system in which a single beam director points in a serial manner to a number of remote stations. Acquisition is accomplished by assuring that the transmitted beam is sufficiently broad to cover the region of uncertainty of the receiver and that the field of view of the staring receiver is sufficiently broad to cover the region of uncertainty of the transmitter. The second concept is a two-way link, also employing a single beam director. The concept is similar to the traditional point-to-point lasercom link, requiring mutual acquisition and tracking. The third concept involves two beam directors, allowing slewing and acquisition of a new station while simultaneously communicating with a previous station. When the slew is complete, a beam to the switch redirects the communication beam to the second beam director. The process may be repeated in a 'leapfrog' manner until all stations have been communicated. These concepts were demonstrated by LDM hardware through generation of the necessary computer code. Other networks can easily be simulated by changes in the software.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 1996
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2699, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies VIII, (22 April 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.238432
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas H. Ebben, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (United States)
C. C. Varner, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (United States)
K. A. Parrish, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (United States)
Robert G. Marshalek, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (United States)
David L. Begley, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (United States)


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

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