Photo: European Space Agency – ESA
We have lasers in space, but in this case story, our laser is not actually leaving Earth. It is nestled in one of ESA’s ground stations where it communicates with passing satellites.
How? In short, our Beacon Laser emits a narrow-linewidth modulated laser signal at an eye-safe wavelength. A passing satellite detects the signal and uses it to determine the exact location of the ground station so that the optical transmitter on the satellite can be pointed directly to the ground station to downlink data.
Optical communication offers many advantages compared to radio frequency communications. Curious? Head over to the case story to read more. And get all the technical details in the publication.
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