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Satnews Daily
October 24th, 2017

Optical Comms System for Japan's ETS-IX Satellite to be Handled by BridgeSat and AstroTerrace

AstroTerrace, Inc. and BridgeSat, Inc. have been awarded a contract to support the development of the optical communications system on the Japanese Government’s Engineering Test Satellite 9 (ETS-IX).


As a recognized world leader in space-based optical communications system, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, NICT, has embarked on the development of an advanced optical communications system for the ETS-IX satellite, known as the High speed Communication with Advanced Laser Instrument (HICALI). The objectives of the HICALI program are:


(1) In-orbit verification of 10 Gbps-class GEO-to-ground lasercom
(2) In-orbit verification of novel optical modulation/demodulation formats

(3) In-orbit verification of novel high-speed optical devices
(4) Collection of laser-beam propagation data and in-orbit experience

New Approaches for Exploring New Usages:

(5) Acquisition of knowledge of development with space manufacturers
(6) Exploration of new potential users of space laser communications

Artistic rendition of Japan's ETs-IX satellite. Image is courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric.

As part of this collaboration, AstroTerrace and BridgeSat will work together to deliver the optical front end for HICALI on the ETS-IX satellite. When ETS-IX is launched in 2021, HICALI is expected to deliver data rates of 10 Gbps through an optical communications link between the ground and the ETS-IX satellite, located in a geosynchronous orbit above Japan.

Under the contract, AstroTerrace will manage the program and oversee the development.

BridgeSat will provide the optical front end design, leveraging their experience delivering commercial optical communications systems that provides secure, high data rate communications at a price that is more attractive than traditional RF systems.

According to a NICT Research Director, the goal of this development is to advance the state of the art in optical communications in a system that will provide benefit to future satellite communication needs. BridgeSat and AstroTerrace have offered a solution that will not only meet our program needs, but also will serve the future innovation for the space laser communication opportunity between GEO and Ground.