Coherent Free-Space Optical Communications

SmartSat CRC Project Number: 1-01

Project Leader: Dr Sascha Schediwy UWA

Participants: University of Western Australia, Defence Science and Technology Group, University of South Australia; Thales Group, Thales Alenia Space.

The project proposes to demonstrate a system that will enable optical fibre-like data transfer rates for atmospheric free-space communication links, including over 10 km+ ground-to-ground links, as well as space-to-space links. We believe this can be achieved through the construction of an active optics-assisted, coherently phase-stabilised, optical communication system; the detailed design of which is informed by detailed computational and analytic physical models of atmospheric optical propagation. The proposed activities include experimental and theoretical investigations of the optical physical layer; the exploration of two data communications applications; and deployments of the system using vertical links.