Laser communication is considered a key enabler for future high data communications between satellites, aerial vehicles, and ground stations. For successful laser communication over several thousands of kilometers distance, pointing of the laser beam between the transmitter and the receiver needs to be controlled with a precision down to a few microradians.
The FSM product is specially designed for laser communication to enable this level of precision pointing. Typically, within a laser communication terminal a tracking sensor is used as input for the control of the pointing. The sensor measures the incoming angle of the received light from the partnering terminal. Based on these readings the FSM correct high-frequency misalignments. In addition, a second FSM is often used for the transmit beam to provide a Point Ahead Angle (PAA) correction, enabling the laser communication terminal to compensate for the “time of flight” – or the time it takes for the laser beam to arrive at the receiving end.
Its small size, mass and power consumption at a competitive recurring price make it the ideal candidate for any laser communication terminal for any market (space, air, ground). The FSM is a versatile product. Although in its essence a fast-tip tilt mirror, it can also be used in other applications.
The FSM has been fully space qualified and will be launched as part of the CubeCAT (SmallCAT) instrument in early April 2023. Industrialization is ongoing and several batches have been sold.
The Deformable Mirror, developed by VDL and TNO, enables laser communication systems to compensate for atmospheric disturbances. Using a unique electromagnetic actuator, the Deformable Mirror delivers much higher modes of focused light than existing solutions. The resulting precision of the laser beam finds application in optical ground stations, astronomy as well as the semiconductor industry.
Multiple Deformable mirror developments are underway with ‘On Sky’ validation being shortly achieved.
The CubeCAT lasercom module enables a bidirectional space-to-ground communication link between a CubeSat and an optical ground station, with downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps and uplink data rate of 200 Kbps. Using optical communication circumvents tedious radio licensing procedures and enables high performing payloads on small platforms. CubeCAT is a compact, high performance laser communication terminal for use in CubeSats and small satellites. CubeCAT is designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. The CubeCAT is part of the CubeCAT Lasercom system and is the result of a joint effort by AAC Clyde Space and TNO.
The CubeCAT terminal has been developed by TNO together with AAC Clyde Space (formerly known as Hyperion) and other parnters). CubeCAT will be first launched in April 2023 a configuration that is also known as SmallCAT. AAC Clydespace is the foreseen OEM partner for CubeCAT for the Direct-To-Earth (DTE) application.
LEOCAT is an Optical Head (OH) for intersatellite laser communication, targeted at the small satellite constellation market. Its small form factor and low recurring price enable constellation missions to make use of this technology within a reasonable budget. Large production rounds can be easily achieved by FSO Instruments.
LEOCAT enables satellite laser terminals to deliver up to 10Gbit/s over a distance of 4400km. Several versions of LEOCAT have been assembled and tested by TNO/FSO. The research leading to LEOCAT was performed by TNO with the support of an ESA ARTES Program.
Integration & Industrialization
To enable our customers to deliver systems with the highest level of integration and reliability, our modules have a compact and fully integrated opto-mechatronic design. Reliability of our modules is optimized through careful design analysis and -validation, extensive lab testing and cleanroom assembly.
Through our cooperation with VDL, we have a tier-one contract manufacturer with global operations to our disposal. VDL enables FSO Instruments to scale manufacturing of our modules, sub-assemblies and assemblies from low-volume made-to-order production to high-volume six-sigma manufacturing.