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Proceedings Paper

SPARCL: a high-altitude tethered balloon-based optical space-to-ground communication system
Author(s): Surjit S. Badesha
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Paper Abstract

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) has conducted a feasibility study to determine if a high altitude (20 km) tethered balloon-based space-to-ground optical communication system is a feasible concept. To support this effort, a detailed concept definition was developed and associated issues were identified and analyzed systematically. Of all the adverse atmospheric phenomena, cloud coverage was identified as the most prohibitive obstacle for a space-to-ground optical communication link. However, by placing a receiver on a balloon at a 20 km altitude, the proposed high altitude system avoids virtually all atmospheric effects. A practical notional scenario was developed (i.e. surveillance and/or reconnaissance of a regional conflict) involving end-to-end optical communication architecture to identify system elements, system level requirements, and to quantify realistic data rate requirements. Analysis of the proposed space-to-ground communication elements indicates that while significant development is required, the system is technically feasible and is a very cost effective 24/7solution.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 December 2002
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 4821, Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging II, (9 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.450641
Show Author Affiliations
Surjit S. Badesha, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4821:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging II
Jennifer C. Ricklin; David G. Voelz, Editor(s)

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