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Proceedings Paper

Tracking Sensor Developments For Optical Intersatellite Links
Author(s): Rajul P. Mathur; David J. Purll
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Paper Abstract

Optical communications between satellites in orbit requires highly accurate tracking of incoming laser beam, to allow the generation of necessary control signals for the pointing mechanisms. For the SILEX system planned by ESA the tracking sensor is required to determine the la position of the centre of the focused laser spot to within 0.1 μm on the CCD detector (equivalent to a mispointing of 0.07 μrad), for the nominal bandwidth of 8 kHz and the minimum optical power of 110 pW. This implies the determination of the centre position to small sub-pixel accuracies, achieved via mathematical interpolation from the fractions of the optical signal falling in the centre 4 pixels. This paper discusses the development of the tracking sensor breadboards by BAe and Sira. The detector unit, which uses the new 14x14 pixel CCD developed by Thomson-CSF, provides for fine adjustments of the CCD position. It also houses the electronics for CCD drive signals, output buffering, and amplification. The electronics unit carries out the processing of the video signal, to determine the coarse position of the spot over the 14x14 pixel area, and a very accurate position over the central 2x2 pixel area via an algorithm executed in a microprocessor. The paper also presents some performance results, and routes to the design of flight sensors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 October 1989
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 1131, Optical Space Communication, (6 October 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.961536
Show Author Affiliations
Rajul P. Mathur, British Aerospace (Space Systems) Ltd. (UK)
David J. Purll, Sira Ltd. (UK)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1131:
Optical Space Communication

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