New beacon laser system for satellite optical communications

Our newly designed Beacon Laser is at the heart of the ESA IZN-1 satellite communications ground station.

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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