Laser Communication

Data Transfer for a CubeSat

About the Project

Compared to radio frequency systems, laser communications systems offer the possibility of high data rates, lower electrical power requirements, compact transceivers, and a more compact beam due to the smaller wavelength. However, the major drawback of laser communication is that the small beam requires more precise pointing from the transmitter to the receiver. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) is currently working on a CubeSat, a miniature satellite, that can communicate with a station on Earth through laser communication. Our challenge is to show that we can establish a laser communication link between an orbiting Cube Sat and the GSFC.

Statement of Work

For this project, we will develop a proof of concept transmitter (a laser with pointing actuator) and receiver (a webcam/lens setup). The transmitter and receiver will be able to establish a laser communication link without exact information on each other's current location and orientation.