The German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Communications and Navigation developed the Free Space Experimental Laser Terminal II and has been using it for optical downlink experiments since 2008. It has been developed for DLR’s Dornier 228 aircraft and is capable of performing optical downlink as well as inter-platform experiments. After more than 5 years of successful operation, it has been refurbished with up-to-date hardware and is now available for further aircraft-experiments. The system is a valuable resource for carrying out measurements of the atmospheric channel, for testing new developments, and of course to transmit data from the aircraft to a ground station with a very high data rate. This paper will give an overview about the system and describe the capabilities of the flexible platform. The current status of the system will be described and measurement results of a recent flight campaign will be presented. Finally, an outlook to future use of the system will be given.
Christian Fuchs, Christopher Schmidt, Benjamin Rödiger, Amita Shrestha, Martin Brechtelsbauer, Julio Ramirez Molina, Jorge Pacheco, and Veronika Gstaiger, "DLR's free space experimental laser terminal for optical aircraft downlinks," Proc. SPIE 10096, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXIX, 1009610 (Presented at SPIE LASE: February 01, 2017; Published: 24 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254791.
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