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DLR and the University of Stuttgart test the transmission of Earth observation data using laser communications
03 April 2019
Data from space using lasers
Earth observation satellites play a key role in weather forecasting, climate research, monitoring of the planet's surface and the detection of forest fires. These tasks require satellites to transmit very large amounts of data to the ground for analysis. Today's radio systems are reaching their limits in this area.
Optical transmission methods, however, offer the possibility of sending data at significantly higher rates. The first transmission tests have now been carried out using the Optical Space Infrared Downlink System (OSIRIS) laser communications terminal, which was developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The terminal is located on board the ‘Flying Laptop', a small satellite developed by the University of Stuttgart.
Image credit: DLR - The 'Flying Laptop' small satellite.