Richard P. Welle of the Aerospace Corporation presented findings on the development of an optical space‐to‐ground communications system at the 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO.
The AeroCube Optical Communication and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) has as its primary payload a 10‐W laser for a LEO‐to‐ground communications demonstration. The OCSD laser is hard‐mounted to the spacecraft and beam steering is accomplished through precision pointing of the spacecraft as a whole. This capability is enabled through development of an advanced CubeSat‐scale attitude‐control system capable of pointing the spacecraft to within 0.2 degrees of the target. The OSCD program includes three flight units; a pathfinder that will fly in summer 2015 and two follow‐on units that will fly in December 2015.
For robustness and power control, the spacecraft utilize a Sensonor STIM210 3-axis rate gyro, providing a random angular walk of 0.15 deg/(hour)^1/2.