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  • Space Photonics Nabs SBIR Contract
Jun 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., June 14, 2013 — Space Photonics Inc. has partnered with Schott North America Inc. and Harris Corp. to further develop its LaserFire laser communications technology under a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

The LaserFire system uses inherently secure free space optical communication technology to provide reliable point-to-point ground communications at speeds up to 10 Gb/s. Space Photonics licensed the system to Schott in October 2012 for military commercialization (See: Space Photonics Licenses Tech to Schott).

Under the 15-month, $332,000 Department of Defense award, Space Photonics aims to extend the communication range to 7 km for fixed-position, ground-based laser communication links and to develop a scalable system to support longer range communications on mobile and space platforms. The resulting system is intended to overcome the limitations of traditional radio frequency communications and be suitable for deployment in congested military and commercial communications networks.

Space Photonics will collaborate with Schott North America and Harris Corp. to further develop its LaserFire laser communications technology under a Phase II SBIR contract from the Department of Defense. Courtesy of Space Photonics.

“This contract allows us to help the military solve communications problems they’ve identified by increasing bandwidth capacities and extending communication ranges,” said Terry Tidwell, chief engineer of free space optics at Space Photonics. “However, the applications of the LaserFire system go well beyond the scope of this contract, as it can be used in cellular data backhaul and Metro-Area Networks to support day-to-day communication networks in the commercial sector.”

Contract research and development will take place at the company’s Fayetteville facilities, with final system manufacturing to be completed at Schott North America’s facilities in Southbridge, Mass. Communications and information technology company Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., will provide a dynamic buffering hybrid modem for system deployments.

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