Boffins' satcomms rig uses earthly LEDs to talk to orbiting PV panels | 9/12/2017 | Staff
josh567 (Posted by) Level 3
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As low-cost satellites become more common, researchers are turning their attention to improving their communications capabilities without adding crushing costs.

A laser might, as NASA demonstrated earlier this year, be able to hit a gigabit per second – but the kit's expensive.

Pair - Researchers - Aphelion - Orbitals - Mbps

So a pair of researchers from Florida-based Aphelion Orbitals have instead achieved better than 8 Mbps – using boring old LEDs.

Interestingly, one of their cost-saving measures is to reduce the accuracy you need to aim a signal at the satellite, by using a large photon-collection surface that's already common in space, the satellites' photovoltaic (PV) panels, as the receiver.

Uplink - Antenna - Birds - Cubesat - Class

This also removes a separate uplink antenna, which helps make birds in the Cubesat class smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

In this paper...
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