Objective: To develop an Engineering Model of a miniaturised optical terminal for LEO-LEO and LEO-ground applications.
Targeted Improvements: Improved communication rates for small satellites, and increased use of smaller satellites for telecommunication missions by removing radio regulatory hurdles.
Description: Optical communications is a technology currently being explored for embarkation on medium sized satellites. Within European industry there is an interest to use ISL for smaller sized satellites in therange of 6 to 16 U (Cubesat), but there are currently no European products available for this application. Various U.S. initiatives,using NASA or DARPA funding, arecurrently addressing this market, including demonstrations using already in-orbit small satellites. At the moment, related European developments target solutions for the heavier and larger satellites of around 100 kg.
The startingpoint of this development shall be optical technology and products from European suppliers. A number of mission cases shall be investigated, in which mission requirements shall be formulated that would justify optical communications on small satellites.
The activity shall perform system level trade-offs with regards to pointing mechanisms, optical technology and link budgets for the various use cases in which optical ISL provide additional benefits.
An engineering model terminal shall then be designed, developed and tested and an example accommodation exercise shall be performed with a candidate mission.
Procurement Policy: C(2) = A relevant participation (in terms of quality and quantity) of non-primes (incl. SMEs) is required. For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes".