ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0206.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Keywords: Laser Communications; Platform Jitter; Beam-pointing stability; Drone; CubeSat
Online: 11 August 2022 (03:38:22 CEST)
Adaption of laser communication terminals to airborne and lean-satellite platforms is now a vogue, made possible due to the progressing advancements in lightweight components and compactness of onboard electro-optical transceivers and control systems. This enables highly secured and superior data-transmission rates beyond multiple Gigabit/second on CubeSats and drones compared to Megabit/second rates offered by similar radio-transceivers form factors. However, laser-transmission links require a very stringent beam-pointing stability because they are easily perturbed by attitude variations and micro-vibrations generated by the host platform’s propulsion system or other mechanically active subsystems in proximity with the transmitter’s optical head. Severe line-of-sight jitter causes the downlink laser beam to drift from the targeted receiving system’s field-of-view, inducing pointing errors, increasing signal outage probability and information loss. We experimentally examine the platform jitter generated by the propellers of an hexacopter drone during ground operation and the attitude-control unit’s reaction wheels in a 6U CubeSat structure. We determined the vibration spectrum unique to these platforms and accordingly prescribe requirements for applicable optical fine pointing and disturbance isolation or suppression systems needed to achieve a high-fidelity laser-communication link.