The use of integrated focal plane array technologies in laser micro-satellite networks

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Clustering micro satellites in cooperative fly formation constellations leads to high-performance space systems. The only way to achieve high-speed communication between the satellites is by a laser beam with a narrow divergence angle. In order to make the communication successful three types of focal plane detector arrays are required in the communication terminal: acquisition, tracking and communication detector arrays. The acquisition detector array is used to acquire the neighbor satellite using a wide field-of-view telescope. The tracking detector provides fast, real time and accurate direction location of the neighbor satellite. Based on the information from the acquisition and tracking detectors the receiver and transmitter maintain line of sight. The development of large, fast and very sensitive focal plane detector arrays makes it possible to implement the acquisition, tracking and communication with only one focal plane detector array. By doing so it is possible to reduce dramatically the size, weight, and cost of the optics and electronics which leads to lightweight communication terminals. As a result, the satellites are smaller and lighter, which reduces the space mission cost and increases the booster efficiency. In this paper we will present an overview of the concept of integrated focal plane arrays for laser satellite communication. We also present simulation results based on real system parameters and compare different implementation options.

Original languageEnglish
Article number01
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004
EventElectro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Oct 200427 Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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