Satellite optical comms ground station for WA

By on 21 September, 2022

Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock image supplied

Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has been awarded a €1.1 million contract by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Scylight program to support the development of the optical communication project NODES (Network of Optical stations for Data transfer to Earth from Space).

As one of the first steps, SSC has placed an order with French company Cailabs for a first ground station in Western Australia, scheduled to begin trials in early 2024.

“We are pleased to be part of the advancements within this fast-moving industry segment. While the market for optical communication is still young, the need for moving to this unlicensed part of the spectrum is greater than ever,” said Hanna Sundberg, SSC Lead System Architect Optical Communications and NODES Project Manager.

“In the coming years our ambition is to offer industry-leading optical ground network services to our current and future customers. This first station establishment together with Cailabs is a major step towards this realisation.”

The market for optical direct-to-Earth communication is expected to grow significantly over the coming years, supported by increasingly advanced space laser communication technology.

By moving to higher data transfer frequencies, the space industry is set to address current data limitations by increasing bandwidth and possible data rates.

Among the benefits are increased security and immunity to electromagnetic interference as well as reduced size, weight and power consumption aboard the spacecraft.

Additional optical ground stations will be added to the global network once the concept is proven.

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