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Astrolight demonstrates space-to-ground laser communication link

Wireless laser communication systems developer Astrolight successfully performed a satellite-to-ground laser communication test using a portable OGS-1 optical ground station.

Astrolight, working with the European Space Agency (ESA), established the laser communication link using the OGS-1 optical ground station, located at ESA’s Izaña-1 (IZN-1) ground station, located at Teide Observatory in Tenerife, Spain, and an experimental laser transmitter system Osiris onboard the ‘Flying Laptop’ satellite in low Earth orbit.

The objective of the test was to demonstrate a reliable, high-bit-rate ad-hoc low-Earth orbit (LEO)-to-ground laser communication capability between a representative satellite and Astrolight’s OGS-1 portable optical ground station.

The experiment highlighted the unique portability and ease-of-use of Astrolight’s solution. The complete system, including the telescope, receive optical head, tracking computer, detector and modem, was disassembled at Astrolight’s facility in Vilnius, Lithuania, and placed into four pieces of luggage each under 32 kg, which were then transported 480 km by a compact SUV, placed on a plane via regular check-in desk, flown to Tenerife and then transported up the mountain by car. Astrolight’s OGS-1 was then reassembled and ready for operation in two hours, which is also the time it took to prepare the ground station for the trip.