Special Issue "Space-based Laser Communications"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Kerri Cahoy
Guest Editor
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Room 37-367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
Interests: free space optical communication; nanosatellites; atmospheric sounding; exoplanet direct imaging; space weather

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Laser communication systems have the potential to improve the speed and latency of data downlink and crosslink for space-based applications, such as Earth observation and satellite communications. Laser communications systems also currently have minimal regulatory constraints compared with highly contested and congested radio frequencies. In addition to highly customized, robust, space-qualified systems, laser communications efforts now also focus on qualifying and using commercial terrestrial fiber-optic communications components on space-based platforms to reduce size, weight, power, and cost, as well as developing architectures that involve large constellations of small satellites and distributed ground station networks to improve availability and mitigate the impact of weather on system performance. Ongoing innovations include autonomous and portable ground station technology, advances in pointing, acquisition and tracking systems for both space and ground applications, the incorporation of precision timing capability, and the evolution of link budget and systems engineering tools away from deterministic link budgets and toward dynamic, uncertainty-based algorithms.

Prof. Dr. Kerri Cahoy
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • laser communications
  • free space optical
  • lasercom
  • ground station
  • telescope
  • adaptive optics
  • pointing acquisition and tracking
  • precision pointing

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
The Miniature Optical Communication Transceiver—A Compact, Power-Efficient Lasercom System for Deep Space Nanosatellites
Aerospace 2019, 6(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6010002 - 31 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Optical communication is becoming more prevalent in orbit due to the need for increased data throughput. Nanosatellites, which are satellites that typically weigh less than 10 kg, are also becoming more common due to lower launch costs that enable the rapid testing of [...] Read more.
Optical communication is becoming more prevalent in orbit due to the need for increased data throughput. Nanosatellites, which are satellites that typically weigh less than 10 kg, are also becoming more common due to lower launch costs that enable the rapid testing of technology in a space environment. Nanosatellites are cheaper to launch than their larger counterparts and may be a viable option for communicating beyond Earth’s orbit, but have strict Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) requirements. The Miniature Optical Communication Transceiver (MOCT) is a compact optical transceiver designed to provide modest data rates to SWaP constrained platforms, like nanosatellites. This paper will cover the optical amplifier characterization and simulated performance of the MOCT amplifier design that produces 1 kW peak power pulses and closes three optical links which include Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Earth, LEO to LEO, and Moon to Earth. Additionally, a benchtop version of the amplifier design was constructed and was able to produce amplified pulses with 1.37 W peak power, including a 35.7% transmit optics loss, at a pump power of 500 mW. Finally, the modulator, seed laser, amplifier, receiver, and time-to-digital converter were all used together to measure the Bit Error Ratio (BER), which was 0.00257 for a received optical peak power of 176 nW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space-based Laser Communications)
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