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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

The CubeSat Laser Infrared CrosslinK Mission (CLICK)
Author(s): Kerri Cahoy; Peter Grenfell; Angela Crews; Michael Long; Paul Serra; Anh Nguyen; Riley Fitzgerald; Christian Haughwout; Rodrigo Diez; Alexa Aguilar; John Conklin; Cadence Payne; Joseph Kusters; Chloe Sackier; Mia LaRocca; Laura Yenchesky

Paper Abstract

The CubeSat Laser Infrared CrosslinK mission is a joint Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Florida (UF), and NASA Ames Research Center effort to develop laser communications (lasercom) transceivers. The terminals demonstrate full-duplex intersatellite communications and ranging capability using commercial components to enable future large constellations or swarms of nanosatellites as coordinated distributed sensor systems.

CLICK will demonstrate a crosslink between two CubeSats that each host a < 2U lasercom payload. Range control is achieved using differential drag in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), with attitude controlled using a three-axis reaction wheel assembly and attitude sensors, including star trackers.

The lasercom terminals are direct-detect and rate scalable, designed to achieve a 20 Mbps crosslink at ranges from 25 km to 580 km and operate full-duplex at 1537 nm and 1563 nm with 200 mW of transmit power and a 14.6 arcscecond (0.07 milliradian) full width half max (FWHM) beamwidth. The terminals also use a 976 nm, 500 mW, 0.75 degree FWHM beacon and a quadcell for initial acquisition, and a low-rate radio crosslink for exchanging orbit information.

The payload transmitter is a master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) with fiber Bragg grating for pulse shaping and MEMS fast steering mirror (FSM) for fine pointing, modeled after the MIT Nanosatellite Optical Downlink Experiment. The transceiver leverages UF’s Miniature Optical Communications Transmitter (MOCT) including a chip-scale atomic clock (CSAC). The receiver implements both a time to digital converter (TDC) as well as pulse recovery and matched filtering for precision ranging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 111800Y (12 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2535953
Show Author Affiliations
Kerri Cahoy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Peter Grenfell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Angela Crews, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Michael Long, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Paul Serra, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Anh Nguyen, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Riley Fitzgerald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Christian Haughwout, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Rodrigo Diez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Alexa Aguilar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
John Conklin, Univ. of Florida (United States)
Cadence Payne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Joseph Kusters, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Chloe Sackier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Mia LaRocca, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Laura Yenchesky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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