Optical ground stations can be an alternative to radio frequency based transmit (forward) and receive (return) systems for data relay services and other applications including direct to earth optical communications from low earth orbit spacecrafts, deep space receivers, space based quantum key distribution systems and Tbps capacity feeder links to geostationary spacecrafts. The Tesat Transportable Adaptive Optical Ground Station is operational since September 2015 at the European Space Agency site in Tenerife, Spain.. This paper reports about the results of the 2016 experimental campaigns including the characterization of the optical channel from Tenerife for an optimized coding scheme, the performance of the T-AOGS under different atmospheric conditions and the first successful measurements of the suitability of the Alphasat LCT optical downlink performance for future continuous variable quantum key distribution systems.
Frank Heine, Karen Saucke, Daniel Troendle, Matthias Motzigemba, Hermann Bischl, Dominique Elser, Christoph Marquardt, Hennes Henninger, Rolf Meyer, Ines Richter, and Zoran Sodnik, "Laser based bi-directional Gbit ground links with the Tesat transportable adaptive optical ground station," Proc. SPIE 10096, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXIX, 100960Y (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 31, 2017; Published: 24 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252826.
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