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Proceedings Paper

Design and development of a robust ATP subsystem for the Altair UAV-to-ground lasercomm 2.5-Gbps demonstration
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Paper Abstract

A robust acquisition, tracking and pointing (ATP) subsystem is being developed for the 2.5 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Unmanned-Aerial-Vehicle (UAV) to ground free-space optical communications link project. The demonstration will gather HDTV images of regions of geological interest (e.g. volcanic) and then downlink those images to ground receivers at a range of 50 km while the UAV is at an altitude of 18 km. With a 200 mW downlink laser at 1550 nm for a BER of 1E-9, the pointing requirements on the flight terminal are a jitter error of 19.5 urad and a bias error of 14.5 urad with a probability of pointing induced fades of 0.1 %. In order to mitigate the effect of atmospheric fades and deal with UAV flight and vibration uncertainties (relatively new craft) the ATP subsystem requirements have been set to a stringent level in order to assure success of the communication link. The design, analysis and development of this robust ATP subsystem will be described in this paper. The key innovations that have been developed to make the ATP subsystem robust are i) the application of inertial sensors to make the acquisition and tracking functions tolerant to atmospheric fades, ii) the usage of active exposure control to provide a 16 dB dynamic range on the Focal Plane Array (FPA) tracking window, and iii) the introduction of a second ultra wide field of view camera to assure acquisition of the ground beacon.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 July 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4975, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XV, (3 July 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.478939
Show Author Affiliations
Gerardo G. Ortiz, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Shinhak Lee, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Steve P. Monacos, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Malcolm W. Wright, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Abhijit Biswas, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4975:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XV
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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