Technological developments leading toward the use of optical communications on deep-space missions are reviewed. Developments in the characterization of atmospheric visibility and the development of advanced composite materials for use in optical communications systems are discussed. System demonstrations involving the Galileo Optical Experiment and a very lightweight optical communications package intended for the Cassini mission to Saturn are addressed. Proposed flight experiments and a deep-space optical communication long-range plan are discussed.
James R. Lesh,
"Deep-space optical communications: a program update", Proc. SPIE 1218, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies II, (1 July 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.18211; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.18211