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Proceedings Paper

Low-power FLC-based retromodulator communications system
Author(s): Charles M. Swenson; Clark A. Steed; Imelda A. De La Rue; Robert Q. Fugate
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Paper Abstract

On September 15, 1996, researchers from Utah State University/Space Dynamics Lab in conjunction with Phillips Lab/Starfire Optical Range and Kjome Research successfully flew and tested a retromodulator laser communication package on a high altitude balloon. This paper addresses the layout and hardware used for the communication link, as well as presenting some preliminary data collected during the 6 hour flight of the balloon. The package was a proof of concept demonstration system for a low-power laser communications systems for small, low Earth orbiting satellites. The ferroelectric liquid crystal based retromodulator design of Utah State provided test patterns for modulation rates up to 20 kilo bits per second. Data was successfully downlinked using a 1200 bps RS232 format and a simplistic receiver. The Starfire Optical Range 1.5-meter telescope located on Kirtland AFB, tracked the balloon, which reached a float altitude of 31 km and collected the modulated light reflected from the payload.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 April 1997
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 2990, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies IX, (24 April 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.273706
Show Author Affiliations
Charles M. Swenson, Utah State Univ. (United States)
Clark A. Steed, Utah State Univ. (United States)
Imelda A. De La Rue, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)
Robert Q. Fugate, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)


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

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