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Laser Terminals

RUAG Space has designed a family of laser communication terminals, known as OPTEL. These Terminals have been developed for both near Earth and deep space applications. The OPTEL terminal family consists of four optical terminals to support near Earth telecommunication applications as well as an optical terminal for the deep space link application.

OPTEL 02

The Optel 02 short-range terminal is capable of transmitting data at Gbps rates over distances of, typically, 2,500 km. This class of terminal is of interest for applications such as the short range GEO - GEO crosslinks. RUAG Space has developed a demonstration model of this terminal under an ESA contract.

OPTEL 25 

The OPTEL 25 medium range terminal is capable of transmitting data at Gbps rates over distances of, typically, 25,000 km to 45,000 km. This class of terminal is of interest for applications such as LEO - GEO inter satellite links and medium range GEO - GEO crosslinks. An engineering model (EM) of this terminal has been developed by RUAG Space under an ESA contract.

 

OPTEL 80

The OPTEL 80long-range terminal is capable of transmitting data at Gbps rates over distances of 40,000 km up to 80,000 km. This class of terminal is of interest for applications such as LEO - GEO inter satellite links and long range GEO -GEO crosslinks.

OPTEL AP

The OPTEL AP terminal has been designed for atmospheric communications between either high altitude (stratospheric) platforms (HAP). The communications links between HAPs are dimensioned to a data rate of 155 - 622 Mbps over a distance of around 400 km. RUAG Space has developed a demonstration model of this terminal.

Telescopes

Based on the ISLFE project, dedicated to the Alphasat LCT, an a-thermal telescope of afocal type employs a 4-mirror off-axis geometry. This type of telescope offers two main advantages over other options. Firstly, it does not suffer from obscuration loss thereby maximizing the use of the available optical signal on transmit and receive, and secondly since the design is afocal there is no need for an eyepiece or relay optics within the optical bench.

  • magnification 12 X
  • exit pupil diameter 135 mm
  • field of view ± 2,5 mrad
  • wave-front error 25 nm
  • mass: approx. 3 kg


A different type of telescope is used in the European Space Agency's Planck scientific mission. The Planck payload consists of a 1.5 m-diameter offset telescope operating at a temperature of -230 °C. RUAG Space has been entrusted with the development and manufacturing of the entire mechanical structure of the Planck payload module (excluding the mirrors), that is the telescope structure, the large baffles and the cryogenic structure.

Optical Benches

Another result of RUAG Space' competencies in optical systems is the optical bench for the Inter-Satellite Link Front-End (ISLFE), which houses the transmit, receive and acquisition channels. On the transmit side the optical bench collimates the communication transmit beam, introduces an optical point ahead offset to the transmit beam for acquisition purposes and finally routes the beam along the common path to the telescope. On the receive side both the receive channel and acquisition channel are brought from the telescope along the common path to the acquisition sensor and the fibre nutator tracking sensor. The optical bench is a joint development effort with FISBA Optik of St. Gallen, Switzerland.