NASA’s 22 cm diameter Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) Transceiver is designed to provide a bidirectional optical link between a spacecraft in the inner solar system and an Earth-based optical ground station. This design, optimized for operation across a wide range of illumination conditions, is focused on minimizing blinding from stray light, and providing reliable, accurate attitude information to point its narrow communication beam accurately to the future location of the ground terminal. Though our transceiver will transmit in the 1550 nm waveband and receive in the 1064 nm waveband, the system design relies heavily on reflective optical elements, extending flexibility to be modified for use at different wavebands. The design makes use of common path propagation among transmit, receive and pointing verification optical channels to maintain precise alignment among its components, and to naturally correct for element misalignment resulting from launch or thermal element perturbations. This paper presents the results of trade studies showing the evolution of the design, unique operational characteristics of the design, elements that help to maintain minimal stray light contamination, and preliminary results from development and initial testing of a functional aluminum test model.
W. Thomas Roberts, "Discovery deep space optical communications (DSOC) transceiver," Proc. SPIE 10096, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXIX, 100960V (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 31, 2017; Published: 24 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256001.
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