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Proceedings Paper

SILEX program status: a major milestone is reached
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents the qualification history of the Silex flight hardware. The two flight model terminals, the GEO to be flown on ARTEMIS, the LEO to be flown on SPOT 4, have been or are about to be delivered for integration with their host spacecraft. Both terminals have undergone a stringent environmental test program, including optical performance measurements in vacuum, requiring complex test equipment. The flight hardware qualification was supported by development models that demonstrated the structural and thermal integrity of the design, the opto-mechanical stability of all optical paths within the terminals and the communication performances of the optical and electronic equipment. Due to the agreed SPOT 4 and ARTEMIS launch dates SILEX will not be in orbit before 1998 and 2000 respectively, such that the in orbit demonstration of the overall system can, most likely, not start before mid 2000, requiring the storage of the GEO terminal after the completion of the spacecraft testing. In the mean time, the construction of the optical ground station in Tenerife is well advanced. The building with the 1m telescope was handed over to ESA in Summer 1996, the optical bench will be ready in early 1997 and the whole station will be operational by mid 1997. It will first be used for in orbit debris observation. The preparation of the experiment between ARTEMIS and the Japanese spacecraft OICETS is proceeding well. A detailed link simulation has demonstrated the feasibility of the undertakings, the in orbit test plan is agreed, the ground interfaces are defined. This experiment will allow to control a LEO spacecraft via a data relay satellite through a S-band link with the simultaneous bi- directional optical link allowing data transmission at a rate of 50 Megabit per second in the return direction and 2 Mpbs in the forward direction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 April 1997
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2990, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies IX, (24 April 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.273683
Show Author Affiliations
Gotthard Oppenhauser, European Space Agency (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2990:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies IX
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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