Laser Portfolio

TESAT CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF LASER COMMUNICATION IN SPACE

Exactly ten years ago on 21st February, 2008, a government-to-government cooperation between the United States and Germany to establish a laser link between two operational satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) started a new chapter in the history of space. The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency satellite NFIRE, both equipped with Laser Communication Terminals (LCT) manufactured by Tesat, established the first successful and stable orbital laser link.

The anniversary terminal “LCT 135” makes it possible to send up to 1.8 Gbps of data and information over a distance of up to 80,000 km, fast, secure and totally interference-resistant – even when both satellites drift away from each other in different orbits at absolute orbital speeds of around 30,000 kilometres per hour.

Tesat's LCTs are the key technology behind Airbus's SpaceDataHighway that provides near-real-time data transmission to any location worldwide. This system of two geostationary satellites is used to relay data between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, spacecrafts or airborne platforms and fixed ground stations. Thus Tesat‘s technology enables near-real time data provision in support of time-critical and data-intensive applications such as for emergency response actions following natural disasters. Another exemplary application area is in the support of global maritime surveillance activities as in the upcoming Pléiades Neo Constellation of Airbus, which also will utilise the SpaceDataHighway to ensure highest system reactivity, lowest latency and high volume data transfer.

Building on more than 30 years of experience in developing and improving laser communications technology, experts at Tesat are developing smaller, smarter and more versatile solutions for a variety of new application areas. These include dedicated LCTs for LEO applications, for large satellite constellations, and also for CubeSats – small cube-shaped Earth observation or scientific satellites. Common to all terminals is the approach to reduce size, weight and cost, while maintaining functionality.

TESAT CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF LASER COMMUNICATION IN SPACE

Exactly ten years ago on 21st February, 2008, a government-to-government cooperation between the United States and Germany to establish a laser link between two operational satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) started a new chapter in the history of space. The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency satellite NFIRE, both equipped with Laser Communication Terminals (LCT) manufactured by Tesat, established the first successful and stable orbital laser link.

The anniversary terminal “LCT 135” makes it possible to send up to 1.8 Gbps of data and information over a distance of up to 80,000 km, fast, secure and totally interference-resistant – even when both satellites drift away from each other in different orbits at absolute orbital speeds of around 30,000 kilometres per hour.

Tesat's LCTs are the key technology behind Airbus's SpaceDataHighway that provides near-real-time data transmission to any location worldwide. This system of two geostationary satellites is used to relay data between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, spacecrafts or airborne platforms and fixed ground stations. Thus Tesat‘s technology enables near-real time data provision in support of time-critical and data-intensive applications such as for emergency response actions following natural disasters. Another exemplary application area is in the support of global maritime surveillance activities as in the upcoming Pléiades Neo Constellation of Airbus, which also will utilise the SpaceDataHighway to ensure highest system reactivity, lowest latency and high volume data transfer.

Building on more than 30 years of experience in developing and improving laser communications technology, experts at Tesat are developing smaller, smarter and more versatile solutions for a variety of new application areas. These include dedicated LCTs for LEO applications, for large satellite constellations, and also for CubeSats – small cube-shaped Earth observation or scientific satellites. Common to all terminals is the approach to reduce size, weight and cost, while maintaining functionality.



PRODUCT RANGE AND APPLICATIONS OF LASER COMMUNICATION TERMINALS BY TESAT

Tesat can offer appropriate Laser Terminals for a wide range of applications. In the case of the SpaceDataHighway, this is the LCT135, which can transmit up to 1.8 gigabits per second over distances of up to 80,000 kilometers, safely, quickly and completely fail-safe. Through this geostationary backbone, Tesat technology enables worldwide data transmission in near real-time.

For applications in Low-Earth Orbits (LEO) there is the SmartLCT, which can be deployed on smaller, lighter satellites with huge weight and size savings. Data transmission over distances of up to 45,000 kilometers while maintaining the high data rate of up to 1.8 gigabits per second, the SmartLCT weighs just about 22 kilograms.

For even smaller satellites, Tesat's Laser Portfolio offers the TOSIRIS and CubeL, which can transmit Direct-to-Earth data at speeds of 10 gigabits per second (TOSIRIS) or 100 megabits per second (CubeL). Particularly impressive is the associated reduction in weight. The already small representative TOSIRIS comes to only 8 kilograms while the CubeL with an edge length of just 10 centimeters weighs only 300 grams.

The groundbreaking feature is that Tesat LCTs are already helping to increase the satellite's reception capacity by up to 50%, as more data can be transmitted in less time. This makes it possible to re-record the entire global land mass (150 million km²) in just 5 days, while making it available in less than 15 minutes.

Tesat currently operates 8 Laser Communication Terminals in space – 2 of them on geostationary satellites in Airbus's SpaceDataHighway and 6 on LEO satellites.

PRODUCT RANGE AND APPLICATIONS OF LASER COMMUNICATION TERMINALS BY TESAT

Tesat can offer appropriate Laser Terminals for a wide range of applications. In the case of the SpaceDataHighway, this is the LCT135, which can transmit up to 1.8 gigabits per second over distances of up to 80,000 kilometers, safely, quickly and completely fail-safe. Through this geostationary backbone, Tesat technology enables worldwide data transmission in near real-time.

For applications in Low-Earth Orbits (LEO) there is the SmartLCT, which can be deployed on smaller, lighter satellites with huge weight and size savings. Data transmission over distances of up to 45,000 kilometers while maintaining the high data rate of up to 1.8 gigabits per second, the SmartLCT weighs just about 22 kilograms.

For even smaller satellites, Tesat's Laser Portfolio offers the TOSIRIS and CubeL, which can transmit Direct-to-Earth data at speeds of 10 gigabits per second (TOSIRIS) or 100 megabits per second (CubeL). Particularly impressive is the associated reduction in weight. The already small representative TOSIRIS comes to only 8 kilograms while the CubeL with an edge length of just 10 centimeters weighs only 300 grams.

The groundbreaking feature is that Tesat LCTs are already helping to increase the satellite's reception capacity by up to 50%, as more data can be transmitted in less time. This makes it possible to re-record the entire global land mass (150 million km²) in just 5 days, while making it available in less than 15 minutes.

Tesat currently operates 8 Laser Communication Terminals in space – 2 of them on geostationary satellites in Airbus's SpaceDataHighway and 6 on LEO satellites.


T-OSIRIS

Range 1,500 km (down)
Data Rate 10 gigabit per second
Size 28 x 20 x 15 cm
Weight 8 kg

CubeLCT

Range 1,500 km (down)
Data Rate 100 megabit per second
Size 95 x 95 x 30 mm
Weight 300 g
CubeL was developed in cooperation with DLR-IKN

SmartLCT

Range 45,000 km
Data Rate 1.8 gigabit per second
Size 60 x 80 x 20 cm
Weight 22 kg

LCT 135

Range 80,000 km
Data Rate 1.8 gigabit per second
Size 60 x 60 x 70 cm
Weight 53 kg
Image: CPA - only visbile part of LCT135