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Molex Fiber Used on NASA Climate Monitoring Satellite

Photonics.com
Sep 2016
LISLE, Ill., Sept. 15, 2016 — Molex LLC has announced that is Polymicro Technologies optical fiber is being used to build NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) for climate monitoring.

The satellite, slated to be launched in 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will measure changes in Earth features such as melting ice sheets, thinning sea ice and growing trees. The Molex optical fiber will be used onboard ICESat-2 and in ground support equipment assemblies that enable integration and testing. The custom fibers are composed of high OH glass/glass fiber, including a glass core, glass cladding layer, acrylate buffer and a protective nylon outer jacket.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of this vital NASA project and look forward to continued collaboration on future projects,” said Gary MacDonald, technical sales supervisor of Molex. “Molex has an ongoing relationship with NASA Goddard, and our optical fiber is currently in use on the Mars Rover Curiosity as well. We consider it an honor and a privilege to have been chosen to supply our custom fiber on such a remarkable venture.”

The Mars Rover Curiosity includes an armor jacketed fiber optic assembly built with Molex Polymicro Technologies FVA300330500 fiber. The assembly connects to the body-mast unit on the vehicle’s ChemCam active remote sensing instrument.

ICESat-2’s photon-counting laser altimeter will measure the round trip time of individual laser photons reflecting off the ground and returning to the satellite’s receiver telescopes at a rate of 10,000 laser pulses/s. By matching those times with the satellite’s precise location in space, the mission will determine the elevation of features on Earth and provide a continuous record of feature changes occurring in the 21st century. The 3,483-lb ICESat-2 will have a design life of three years and enough fuel to operate for seven years.



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