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Exploring the Great Beyond

EuroPhotonics
Sep 2017
JUSTINE MURPHY, SENIOR EDITOR, justine.murphy@photonics.com


Justine MurphyDecades of space exploration have expanded our view past Earth’s exosphere and even beyond our solar system. Photonics technology plays a significant role in this expansion of knowledge. And in the process, it improves what we know about life here on Earth and the ways we communicate.

The remote sensing satellites that enable space exploration are advancing to keep up with ever-demanding wireless, data and broadband communication needs. The new satellite from U.S.-based spacecraft developer and manufacturer SpaceX, for example, supports wireless communications and television broadcasting, as well as transatlantic data relays. The company sent the Falcon 9 Intelsat 35e into space earlier this year.

The National Space Organization of Taiwan is planning to launch its own remote sensing satellite this year. The FormoSat-5 is a high-resolution optical remote sensing instrument that captures images on a panchromatic spectral band. This satellite will collect images for land use surveying, environmental monitoring, data collection and other security measures.

In “Space Photonics: A Platform Technology for Satellite Systems” (read article), Efstratios Kehayas, vice president of research and development at Gooch & Housego, examines how photonics technology should help advance space-based communications, as the need grows for faster, higher-capacity systems.

This next generation of remote sensing satellites technology is being called upon to deliver larger volumes of data faster and more efficiently. Kehayas says these needs, as well as for high-speed and low-latency downlinking of terrestrial- or space-generated data using low-mass and power-efficient systems, are paving the way for photonics to play a major role in space exploration.

Also in this issue, LED light sources come into view, as CoolLED Ltd. Technical Director Gerard Whoriskey discusses their influence in fluorescence microscopy, as well as their potential as an effective research tool (read article).

Contributing Editor Marie Freebody takes an in-depth look at ultrafast optics technology and how the development of more cost-effective systems will advance it through applications throughout the photonics industry (read article).

And in EPIC Insights, Ana González and Jose Pozo look at how specialty optical fibers are revolutionizing sensing applications industrywide (read article).

Enjoy the issue!

EditorialJustine Murphy

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