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Proceedings Paper

Small optical-terminal designs with a softmount interface
Author(s): Guy C. Baister; Paul V. Gatenby; Jeffrey Lewis; Bernard Laurent
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Paper Abstract

Disturbances to the line-of-sight induced by satellite microvibrations pose a major design challenge for optical terminals. The conventional approach is to hard-mount the terminal to the satellite so that the fine pointing control system has to cope with disturbance spectra extending above a hundred Hz. The need for a wideband tracking sensor and fine pointing mechanism and fast control electronics results in a substantial mass, power and cost overhead. An alternative approach which offers considerable advantages has been pursued by MMS. This is to attenuate the high frequency components of the microvibrations by introducing an anti-vibration interface between the terminal and the satellite. A set of elastomeric elements with associated launch locking devices performs this filtering function. MMS has employed this technology in a number of small optical terminal designs including the SOUT and the SOTT intended for LEO-GEO and GEO-GEO intersatellite links respectively. This paper provides an overview of the softmount approach including the benefits, hardware implementations and design constraints on the terminal. The SOUT and SOTT terminals are used to illustrate implementations for both fixed and gimballed terminals and pertinent measurements on the SOUT breadboard model are reported. Finally, a program to verify softmount performance experimentally for a terminal configuration dedicated to future earth observation missions is described. This successful program has led MMS to baseline this type of interface for future missions when the terminals are mounted on highly perturbed satellites.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 April 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2990, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies IX, (24 April 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.273694
Show Author Affiliations
Guy C. Baister, Matra Marconi SA (United Kingdom)
Paul V. Gatenby, Matra Marconi SA (United Kingdom)
Jeffrey Lewis, Matra Marconi SA (United Kingdom)
Bernard Laurent, Matra Marconi SA (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2990:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies IX
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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