military, optical communications, space development agency

SDA is seeking proposals for a demonstration of laser communications between orbiting satellites and aircraft in flight

WASHINGTON — As it prepares to start deploying a mesh network in low Earth orbit, the Space Development Agency is seeking proposals for a demonstration of laser communications between orbiting satellites and aircraft in flight.

The agency on Aug. 4 issued a “special notice” asking vendors to submit by Sept. 2 proposals on how they would conduct a live demonstration of laser crosslinks between SDA’s Transport Layer satellites and a moving aircraft.

An SDA-funded experiment to test out this technology was launched in June 2021 but was unsuccessful. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems launched two cubesats carrying optical communications terminals to test inter-satellite links but the cubesats never reached their intended orbit and the company was unable to establish contact. One of the goals of the experiment was to establish optical communications between the satellites and an optical terminal on a General Atomics unmanned aircraft. 

In the new solicitation, SDA asks vendors to figure out a way to connect one or more of the 20 Tranche 0 Transport Layer satellites — projected to launch in September — with an aircraft that would be chosen by the vendor. 

SDA is interested in a live flight demonstration but also would consider a phased experiment, starting with space to ground, space to a moving ground vehicle, and space to an airborne platform.

“This demonstration is concentrated on space to airborne test only to research, design, develop and test,” said the solicitation. “Testing must include successful demonstration of pointing, acquisition and tracking, and the capability to acquire and maintain the link with stability to pass up to 1 gigabit per second test data.”

Experts say optical communications between air and space is a tough technical challenge due to the difficulties of pointing and navigating while maintaining a link to a moving aircraft. It also requires correcting the turbulence in the atmosphere that interferes with lasers.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Russia launches sharp-eyed spy satellite for Iran

The Khayyam satellite lifted off early Monday morning (Aug. 9).

View more: Russia launches sharp-eyed spy satellite for Iran

Vaonis Stellina Observation Station Smart telescope review

The Stellina is like no other telescope you’ve seen. At first glance, it appears to be a smooth plastic box about the size of a small suitcase, and even when it’s in operation, there is no eyepiece to look through. This is a truly smart telescope, as revolutionary and different ...

View more: Vaonis Stellina Observation Station Smart telescope review

Galactic Energy of China registers third consecutive successful launch

HELSINKI — Chinese commercial launch service provider Galactic Energy maintained a 100 percent launch record early Tuesday with its third Ceres-1 solid rocket launch. The four-stage Ceres-1 rocket lifted off at 12:11 a.m. Eastern Aug. 9 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.Aboard were three small satellites.  ...

View more: Galactic Energy of China registers third consecutive successful launch

SpaceLink and U.S. Army to study use of relay constellation to deliver data to troops in the field

The company in 2024 plans to start deploying a satellite relay network of four satellites in medium Earth orbit HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — SpaceLink signed an agreement with the U.S. Army to explore ways to use the company’s data-relay constellation to deliver commercial satellite imagery directly to troops on the ...

View more: SpaceLink and U.S. Army to study use of relay constellation to deliver data to troops in the field

See Mars and Pleiades on August 10, morning

Red Mars is rising in the wee hours now, getting noticeably brighter as Earth pulls up behind it in our smaller, faster orbit around the sun. We’ll pass between the sun and Mars in December. Around the mornings of August 10, you’ll find Mars and the Pleiades star cluster ...

View more: See Mars and Pleiades on August 10, morning

Venus, Castor and Pollux line up on August 10

As dawn is breaking on the morning of August 10, look in the sunrise direction for Venus just above the horizon. Venus forms an almost straight line with 2 stars noticeable for being bright and close together. They are Castor and Pollux, the twin stars of Gemini. Chart via ...

View more: Venus, Castor and Pollux line up on August 10

1st SpaceX Starlink launch for August today. Watch here

Starlink launch on August 9, 2022 Heads up! SpaceX is commencing its Starlink launches for the month with a batch of 53 satellites at 22:57 UTC (6:57 p.m. EDT) on August 9, 2022. Starlink Group 4-26 will go up atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The time and date are ...

View more: 1st SpaceX Starlink launch for August today. Watch here

Pure gold pin for space testing

Although this pure gold pin is not much bigger than the tip of a pencil, it is the ‘pulsing heart’ of ESA’s Low Earth Orbit Facility, LEOX. Part of the Agency’s Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory, based at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, this test facility is ...

View more: Pure gold pin for space testing

NASA Space Robotics dive into deep-sea work

Pluto explorer deep dives to the Titanic

Hubble can Still Impress and Inspire. Here's Globular Star Cluster NGC 6638

US Space Force tests robot dogs to patrol Cape Canaveral

Don’t Miss: Sturgeon Supermoon + Perseids Meteor Shower, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter & Vega

Hubble Space Telescope captures photo of a dazzling star cluster

TransAstra and Slooh to offer students asteroid detection tool

Powerful cosmic explosions left abundant stardust in our solar system

Northrop Grumman and Firefly to partner on upgraded Antares

Mars Sample Return mission takes another step

Schrodinger's Galaxy Candidate Revealed Through NASA's JWST Images May Be in Two Different Places

Stunning Northern Lights shine amid solar storm (photos)

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News