Germany: Tesat-Spacecom established 10,000 connections between satellites using its Laser Communication Terminals (LCT). Tesat’s LCTs transmit massive amounts of data at up to 1.8 Gbps over distances of 80,000 km in orbit. In addition, the company develops significantly smaller LCTs for Direct-to-Earth applications.
The LCT135 from Tesat is based on homodyne binary phase shift keying and features bidirectional backbone technology and coherent detection. The terminal has a power consumption of 150 W and offers a very efficient solution for the long-distance transmission of data. The dimensions of the terminal are 60x60x70 cm with a weight of 53 kg. The LCT135 is in TRL9 (Technology Readiness Level) and has been produced 16 times.
The laser technology is used every day for the transfer of important time-critical earth observation data which can be used for monitoring of our oceans, early warning of natural disasters and in support of other emergency services. The LCTs are mainly deployed on Sentinel satellites of the European Copernicus program or on geostationary satellites within the Airbus powered SpaceDataHighway.
Suitable solutions for Direct-to-Earth market
Tesat-Spacecom is also developing very compact laser modules for Direct-to-Earth applications – called CubeL and Tosiris.
The CubeL has a power consumption of 8 W with a weight of 360 g. The module offers a data transfer rate of 100 Mbps. The TOSIRIS transmits 10 Gbps from smaller satellites to the ground. It has a power consumption of 40 W and weighs 8 kg. A special feature of these LCTs is the standard according to the CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems). Both modules send data over a distance of up to 1,500 km.
High security transmission
The data connection will be aborted If disturbed by another object. So, above all, Laser Communication Terminals by Tesat-Spacecom offer a more efficient and much safer technology than conventional radio frequency technology. The transmission by LCTs is able to support encryption via quantum key distribution method.