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Ground-to-satellite laser communication experiments

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12 Author(s)
Toyoshima, M. ; Nat. Inst. of Inf. & Commun. Technol., Tokyo ; Takayama, Yoshihisa ; Takahashi, T. ; Suzuki, K.
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Ground-to-satellite laser communication experiments between the optical ground station located in Koganei, central Tokyo, and a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite were jointly performed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. In 18 trials during three non-consecutive months, the satellite was acquired and tracked 61 % of the time, when clear or partly-clear conditions were predominant. The optical link was maintained for about 6 minutes when the satellite was visible in spite of the high angular velocity of the satellite. In 3 of the 18 trials, the link was not interrupted due to clouds during the six-minute transit. The failures (39% of the time) occurred when cloudy or rainy conditions were predominant. Fluctuation in the uplink received signal power was minimized by using multiple laser beam transmissions. The measured uplink and downlink bit error ratios were 10-7-10-4. These results demonstrate the applicability of free-space laser communication for not only geostationary earth orbit-LEO optical links but also ground-to-LEO optical links.

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Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 8 )