China’s Changguang Satellite demonstrates space-to-ground laser links | Space


HELSINKI — A Chinese satellite manufacturer and constellation operator says it has successfully demonstrated space-to-ground high-speed laser communications which could help China break bottlenecks in getting data from space down to the ground.

Changguang Satellite Technology (CGST) recently carried out the test with its Jilin-1 MF02A04 remote sensing satellite. The test was conducted in cooperation with the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). 

Changguang Satellite Technology itself an offshoot from the state-owned Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Established in 2014, CGST now has 108 remote sensing satellites in orbit and aims to expand its Jilin-1 constellation to 300 satellites by 2025.

Chen Shanbo, chief designer of Jilin-1 MF02A04, said in a statement that the test was the first ultra-high-speed (10Gbps) for commercial applications in China, and signals numerous breakthroughs in key technologies. 

The connection speeds during the tests achieved 10 Gbps, far above the previous best of 1 Gbps using radio frequency transmissions. 

The AIR team told state media that a number of technologies were developed for the tests, including atmospheric channel prediction, task planning and scheduling, rapid capture, signal chain construction and adaptive optical correction of laser signals, and error-free transmission under complex atmospheric conditions. 

Jilin-1 satellites generally deliver panchromatic imagery with a resolution of between 0.50 and 0.75-meters. Other satellites in the constellation have video, multispectral, multipurpose, infrared and other capabilities. CGST published images delivered to Earth through the transmission tests.

State media noted the breakthrough will improve the transmission capacity and security of China’s space information network. 

The breakthrough could enable…

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