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Proceedings Paper

Pointing performance of an aircraft-to-ground optical communications link
Author(s): Martin W. Regehr; Abhijit Biswas; Joseph M. Kovalik; Malcolm W. Wright
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Paper Abstract

We present results of the acquisition and pointing system from successful aircraft-to-ground optical communication demonstrations performed at JPL and nearby at the Table Mountain Facility. Pointing acquisition was accomplished by first using a GPS/INS system to point the aircraft transceiver's beam at the ground station which was equipped with a wide-field camera for acquisition, then locking the ground station pointing to the aircraft's beam. Finally, the aircraft transceiver pointing was locked to the return beam from the ground. Before we began the design and construction of the pointing control system we obtained flight data of typical pointing disturbances on the target aircraft. We then used these data in simulations of the acquisition process and of closed-loop operation. These simulations were used to make design decisions. Excellent pointing performance was achieved in spite of the large disturbances on the aircraft by using a direct-drive brushless DC motor gimbal which provided both passive disturbance isolation and high pointing control loop bandwidth.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 August 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7814, Free-Space Laser Communications X, 781403 (24 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858632
Show Author Affiliations
Martin W. Regehr, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Abhijit Biswas, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Joseph M. Kovalik, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Malcolm W. Wright, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7814:
Free-Space Laser Communications X
Arun K. Majumdar; Christopher C. Davis, Editor(s)

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