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Proceedings Paper

Free-space optical communication for CubeSats in low lunar orbit: LLO
Author(s): Peter M. Goorjian
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Paper Abstract

A fine pointing capability has been developed for laser beam pointing to augment body pointing by CubeSats. An application is made to CubeSats in Low Lunar Orbit (LLO), at 100 km. Body pointing was used by Aerospace Corporation for CubeSats in LEO in NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensors Demonstration (OCSD) program. Computer simulations of this fine pointing capability have been applied to the OCSD program. With fine pointing, the spot size on the Earth could be reduced by a factor of eight with a reduction in laser output power by a factor of sixty-four, thereby mitigating the thermal load challenge on the CubeSats. The same reductions in spot size and laser output power can be achieved for CubeSats in LLO. The new method uses laser arrays for fine laser beam pointing and does not use moving parts. It combines a lens system and a VCSEL/Photodetector Array. For these electro-optical systems, reaction times to pointing changes and vibrations are on a nanosecond time scale, much faster than those for mechanical systems. Results from computer simulations will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 March 2020
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11272, Free-Space Laser Communications XXXII, 1127214 (2 March 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2542134
Show Author Affiliations
Peter M. Goorjian, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11272:
Free-Space Laser Communications XXXII
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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