Title of Presentation: Optical Communications Technologies for High Data Volume Returns from Deep Space

Primary (Corresponding) Author: William H. Farr

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Abstract: NASA communications roadmaps look to space based optical communications to fulfill future high data rate link requirements with minimal spacecraft burden and freedom from current RF spectrum restrictions. Efficient optical links for data rates from 10âs to over 1000 megabits per second require complementary and synchronized development of numerous subsystem technologies such as modulation and coding, laser transmitter, sensitive optoelectronic detector, and near-sun pointing Earth receiver.


We shall present recent developments and performance of Serially Concatenated Pulse Position Modulation coding, high data rate pulse position optical modulators, high power laser amplifier, efficient photon counting detector, and high background (daytime) photon counting receiver technologies with gigaHertz bandwidths for power efficient communications at data rates to over 1000 megabits per second over a photon starved channel.