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High output power laser transmitter for high-efficiency deep-space optical communications
Author(s): J. M. Dailey; M. Dinu; R. Prego; J. Kolchmeyer; M. Berry; A. Monte; J. Engelberth; A. Maliakal; A. Piccirilli; J. LeGrange; R. Ahrens; T. Sochor; J. Jaques; M. W. Wright
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Paper Abstract

We report on the design, development, and testing of the high-power Laser Transmitter Assembly (LTA) supporting the Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) demonstration hosted on the Psyche Discovery class mission, due to launch in 2022. The DSOC project, under development by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will test space-to-ground high-bandwidth laser communications while en route to the Psyche-16 asteroid in the main asteroid belt, in what will be the longest range high rate optical communications link in history. The LTA is based on a master-oscillator power-amplifier optical architecture, using highly-efficient cladding-pumped amplification. The transmitter is designed to deliver average optical output powers <4 W at 1550 nm for low power consumption data links at <100 Mbps. The output signal operates across multiple pulse-position modulation (PPM) orders and pulse-widths to optimize the space-to-ground link. The architecture is designed for high-reliability and radiation hardness, and features hardware interlocks and secondary signal/pumping paths to reduce single points of failure. We also detail the effective management of optical nonlinearities which could damage the LTA or impact the communications link. These include the suppression of stimulated Brillouin scattering, self-phase modulation, and pulseto- pulse energy variation (PEV), which arises from the gain dynamics of the power amplifier, and will manifest when the LTA is configured for large pulse energies and long inter-pulse delays. The LTA also incorporates hardware and software controls to enable autonomous operation, including closed-loop control of intra-stage and output power levels, modulator bias control, and detailed reporting of LTA status through telemetry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 March 2019
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10910, Free-Space Laser Communications XXXI, 109100M (4 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2511193
Show Author Affiliations
J. M. Dailey, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
M. Dinu, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
R. Prego, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
J. Kolchmeyer, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
M. Berry, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
A. Monte, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
J. Engelberth, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
A. Maliakal, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
A. Piccirilli, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
J. LeGrange, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
R. Ahrens, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
T. Sochor, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
J. Jaques, LGS Innovations, LLC (United States)
M. W. Wright, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10910:
Free-Space Laser Communications XXXI
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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