Near real-time data downlinks from aircrafts, satellites and high altitude platforms via high-speed laser commu-
nication links is an important research topic at the Institute of Communications and Navigation of the German
Aerospace Center (DLR). Ground stations for such scenarios are usually fixed at a certain location. With a mo-
tivation to provide a ground station that is quickly and easily deployed anywhere in the world, a transportable
optical ground station (TOGS) has been developed. TOGS features a pneumatically deployable Cassegrain-type
telescope with main mirror diameter of 60 cm, including optical tracking and receiving system. For calibration
of position and attitude, multiple sensors like dual-antenna GPS and inclination sensors have been installed.
In order to realize these systems, robust software that operates and controls them is essential. The software is
platform independent and is aimed to be used on both mobile and ground terminals. It includes implementa-
tion of accurate pointing, acquisition and tracking algorithms, hardware drivers, and user interfaces. Important
modules of the software are GPS tracking, optical tracking, star- and satellite tracking, and calibration of the
TOGS itself. Recently, a first successful data-downlink from an aircraft to TOGS using GPS tracking has been
performed. To streamline the software development and testing process, some simulation environments like
mount simulator, aircraft path simulator, tracking camera simulator and tracking error analysis tool have also
been developed. This paper presents the overall hardware/software structure of the TOGS, and gives results of
the tracking accuracy improvement techniques like GPS extrapolation and optical tracking.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Amita Shrestha and Martin Brechtelsbauer
Transportable optical ground station for high-speed free-space laser communication
", Proc. SPIE 8517, Laser Communication and Propagation through the Atmosphere and Oceans, 851706 (October 24, 2012); doi:10.1117/12.928966; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.928966