To establish optical communication between any two satellites, the lines of sight of their optics must be aligned for the duration of the communication. The satellite pointing and tracking systems perform the alignment. The satellite pointing systems vibrate because of tracking noise and mechanical impacts (such as thruster operation, the antenna pointing mechanism, the solar array driver, navigation noise, tracking noise). These vibrations increase the bit error rate (BER) of the communication system. An expression is derived for adaptive transmitter power that compensates for vibration effects in heterodyne laser satellite links. This compensation makes it possible to keep the link BER performance constant for changes in vibration amplitudes. The motivation for constant BER is derived from the requirement for future satellite communication networks with high quality of service. A practical situation of a two-low-Earth-orbit satellite communication link is given. From the results of the example it is seen that the required power for a given BER increases almost exponentially for linear increase in vibration amplitude.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 30, 1998
Revised Manuscript: March 8, 1999
Published: May 20, 1999
Shlomi Arnon, "Power versus stabilization for laser satellite communication," Appl. Opt. 38, 3229-3233 (1999)