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Beaconless Optical Communication System ConstraintsDeep-space optical communication will enable increased science return and public engagement for robotic and manned missions. The IROC project is studying a beaconless optical communication system for Mars data downlink. A star tracker provides the optical communications pointing information in place of an uplink targeting beacon. The configuration presented in this paper includes a star tracker that is aligned co-boresighted with the optical communication axis. This co-boresight configuration was not discussed in prior work, as it was assumed that large Sun-Probe-Earth keep-out angle requirements for operation of the star tracker would cause significant communication outages. In this paper it is shown that the use of an optimal mechanical mounting angle combined with an advanced star tracker has the capability to yield up to 92% communication availability for an example five-year Mars mission.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Aretskin-Hariton, Eliot D.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Swank, Aaron J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gray, Justin
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
April 26, 2019
Publication Date
January 7, 2019
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: January 7, 2019
End Date: January 11, 2019
Sponsors: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 405034.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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