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Adaptive and Cognitive Modem for SmallSat Lasercom at High Data Rates, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

In this NASA SBIR program, Fibertek, Inc., working with its team partner, proposes to design, develop and demonstrate a SmallSat/CubeSat form-factor, optical communication modem suited for space optical communication links from LEO/MEO orbits. The modem will be suitable for use in both space-to-ground and inter-satellite links. Unlike fiber-optic telecommunication modems, this modem is specifically adapted to the highly dynamic nature of space optical links. Moreover, a software-defined approach leads to an adaptive and cognitive optical modem, that optimizes link BER (bit-error-rate) performance, compared to a fixed-point design of large-SWaP space optical modems used in recent and planned space optical communication demonstrator missions. Protocols originally developed for RF/wireless fading channels have been be optimized and extended to terrestrial free-space-optical (FSO) modems, that have high scintillation and fading. The objective of this program is to further optimize and validate such algorithms and protocols for space optical links. Fibertek's focus will be on small-form-factor hardware implementation of such adaptive and cognitive FSO modem, compatible with a space-qualified roadmap, which can be integrated with ongoing CubeSat and SmallSat optical communication payload for demonstrator missions with Fibertek's end customers. More »

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