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Proceedings Paper

Observations of atmospheric effects for FALCON laser communication system flight test
Author(s): T. Matthew Fletcher; James Cunningham; Daniel Baber; Dave Wickholm; Timothy Goode; Brian Gaughan; Stephen Burgan; Andrew Deck; David W. Young; Juan Juarez; Joseph Sluz; Janette Cohen; Patrick Stallings; Brian K. Stadler
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Paper Abstract

Free-space optical communication terminals have been designed and extensively tested in various configurations. The FALCON terminals are designed to operate on large unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs) or piloted aircraft. They provide a secure, two-way air-to-air and air-to-ground data link. In the latest flight test a successful 132km link was established. The beacon lasers operated at half of their available power, which was sufficient to establish and maintain link for the full flight track. The data and beacon links remained locked for approximately 30 minutes during which both aircraft turned, banked, and experienced air turbulence. This demonstration proved that laser communications is possible with tip-tilt correction as the primary control system compensation. It further demonstrated that compact, low cost free-space optical communications are now available for test and evaluation of operational scenarios.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 May 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8038, Atmospheric Propagation VIII, 80380F (25 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.887407
Show Author Affiliations
T. Matthew Fletcher, ITT Corp. (United States)
James Cunningham, ITT Corp. (United States)
Daniel Baber, ITT Corp. (United States)
Dave Wickholm, ITT Corp. (United States)
Timothy Goode, ITT Corp. (United States)
Brian Gaughan, ITT Corp. (United States)
Stephen Burgan, ITT Corp. (United States)
Andrew Deck, ITT Corp. (United States)
David W. Young, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Juan Juarez, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Joseph Sluz, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Janette Cohen, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Patrick Stallings, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Brian K. Stadler, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8038:
Atmospheric Propagation VIII
Linda M. Wasiczko Thomas; Earl J. Spillar, Editor(s)

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