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'Wireless' Meets Photonics

Photonics Spectra
May 2001
Free-space laser communication gets a boost this summer as a European project takes off -- finally.

T. Tolker-Nielsen

Optical communication offers considerable growth potential to the continuously increasing useful transmitted data rate demand. Constellations of communications satellites will benefit from the ability to transmit the ever-higher data rates with compact, low-mass terminals, while avoiding interference and radio-frequency band saturation.

The European Space Agency has, for some years, endured the frustrating situation of having one optical communications terminal in orbit and its counterterminal grounded – on the not-yet-launched European data relay satellite Artemis…


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