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Proceedings Paper

ESA's bidirectional space-to-ground laser communication experiments
Author(s): Jose Romba; Zoran Sodnik; Marcos Reyes; Angel Alonso; Aneurin Bird
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Paper Abstract

The European Space Agency (ESA) has built an optical ground station (OGS) for commissioning and checkout of its laser communication payloads in orbit. The first such payload is the laser communication terminal (LCT) onboard ARTEMIS, ESA's latest data-relay and telecommunication satellite in geostationary orbit. ARTEMIS is now routinely relaying Earth observation data sent via a similar LCT from the low-earth orbiting satellite SPOT-4 to a ground station in Toulouse. This paper focuses on bidirectional space to ground laser communication experiments, which have been performed between the OGS and ARTEMIS. ESA's interest in laser communication is first briefly explained, then the design of the ground and space terminals is introduced, the pointing, acquisition and tracking strategies are explained and a summary of all laser links performed so far is given. Experimental uplink and downlink results are presented in terms of temporal irradiance behavior and link statistics. The uplink irradiance behavior is investigated with changing number of transmit beams. Finally, ESA's future activities and upgrades planned for the OGS are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 October 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5550, Free-Space Laser Communications IV, (20 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.560934
Show Author Affiliations
Jose Romba, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Zoran Sodnik, European Space Agency (Netherlands)
Marcos Reyes, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
Angel Alonso, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (Spain)
Aneurin Bird, European Space Agency (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5550:
Free-Space Laser Communications IV
Jennifer C. Ricklin; David G. Voelz, Editor(s)

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