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Proceedings Paper

Free space optical communication flight mission: simulations and experimental results on ground level demonstrator
Author(s): Ramon Mata Calvo; Valter Ferrero; Stefano Camatel; Valeria Catalano; Luciana Bonino; Italo Toselli
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Paper Abstract

In the context of the increasing demand in high-speed data link for scientific, planetary exploration and earth observation missions, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), involving Thales Alenia Space as prime, the Polytechnic of Turin and other Italian partners, is developing a program for feasibility demonstration of optical communication system with the goal of a prototype flight mission in the next future. We have designed and analyzed a ground level bidirectional Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) Breadboard at 2.5Gbit/s working at 1550nm as an emulator of slant path link. The breadboard is full-working and we tested it back-toback, at 500m and 2.3km during one month. The distances were chosen in order to get an equivalent slant path cumulative turbulence in a ground level link. The measurements campaign was done during the day and the night time and under several weather conditions, from sunny, rainy or windy. So we could work under very different turbulence conditions from weak to strong turbulence. We measured the scintillation both, on-axis and off-axis by introducing known misalignments at the terminals, transmission losses at both path lengths and BER at both receivers. We present simulations results considering slant and ground level links, where we took into account the atmospheric effects; scintillation, beam spread, beam wander and fade probability, and comparing them with the ground level experimental results, we find a good agreement between them. Finally we discuss the results obtained in the experimentation and in the flight mission simulations in order to apply our experimental results in the next project phases.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7324, Atmospheric Propagation VI, 73240F (2 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820923
Show Author Affiliations
Ramon Mata Calvo, Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (Italy)
Valter Ferrero, Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (Italy)
Stefano Camatel, Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (Italy)
Valeria Catalano, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italy)
Luciana Bonino, Thales Alenia Space Italia (Italy)
Italo Toselli, Politecnico di Torino (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7324:
Atmospheric Propagation VI
Linda M. Wasiczko Thomas; G. Charmaine Gilbreath, Editor(s)

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