A 20-meter free-space optical link (FSOL) is proposed for data transmission between external ISS payload sites and the main cabin at a target rate of 10 Gbps (gigabits per second). Motion between a payload site and the main cabin is predicted to cause up to 5 cm in lateral misalignment and 0.2 degrees of angular misalignment. Due to the harsh environment of space it is advantageous to locate the optical transceivers inside the spacecraft or in a controlled environment. With the optical components and transceivers in separate locations, a fiber optic cable will be required to carry light between the two. In our past work we found that the use of large-core fibers provide an increased misalignment tolerance for such systems and could eliminate the need for active control of the optics. In that work, it was shown that a 105 μm core diameter fiber optic cable offered a viable low SWaP (size, weight, and power) solution for the ISS application; however, the effects of modal dispersion were not investigated. This paper will present bit error rate performance of the FSOL using these large-core fibers.
Bryan Schoenholz, Sarah Tedder, Patrick Millican, and Joel Berkson, "Bit error rate performance on passive alignment in free space optical links using large core fibers," Proc. SPIE 10524, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXX, 1052415 (Presented at SPIE LASE: January 31, 2018; Published: 15 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290201.
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