KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       

Optical Communication on SmallSats – Enabling the Next Era in Space Science

July 11 - 14, 2016
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Suzana Sburlan

Suzana Sburlan

JPL

Fiona Harrison

Fiona Harrison

Caltech

Brian Grefenstette

Brian Grefenstette

Caltech

Renny Fields

Renny Fields

The Aerospace Corporation

Workshop Overview:

In the few years since the 2012 KISS (Keck Institute for Space Studies) workshop on Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science, a near-frenzied growth has taken place in SmallSat missions and capabilities.  The functionality of CubeSats (< 10 kg) and SmallSats (< 200 kg) is increasing, providing the opportunity to achieve a wide spectrum of scientific objectives on these relatively low-cost/low-risk platforms.  These spacecraft today rely on RF communication systems, which, despite their maturity and small footprint, cannot keep up with the growing demand for data, nor satisfy the various government controls on frequency and bandwidth for the radio frequency spectrum.  Therefore, highly compact laser communication systems are being pursued because of their potential to return 100-1000x more data than the current options. 

This study will bring together space scientists, technologists, and mission designers across two workshops to understand the current limitations faced by SmallSat science missions stemming from the communication bottleneck, and together craft novel technical approaches for optical data transfer that significantly enhances the quality and volume of data returned by these missions.  The overarching theme is to identify the most logical development path for optical communication instruments, in order to retire the key risks associated with this technology and ensure that it will meet the needs of SmallSat customers and be competitive with their RF counterparts.  Resource-efficiency will also be evaluated for these two options in different regions of space to determine the ranges where one holds a clear advantage over the other.  For example, many deep space SmallSat missions may only be achieved through creative laser communication where RF bent-pipe alternatives are not available.

This program will be driven by a rich cross-fertilization of the various contributors’ backgrounds and motivations to define new compelling science that is realizable by utilizing many existing ground and space optical facilities combined with achievable optical communication flight systems.  While serving to initiate many near-term revolutionary SmallSat mission concepts, the concrete results that blossom from this symposium will clearly guide and impact longer-term strategies for supporting large-scale space optical communication architectures.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Think Tank, Room 155 - Beckman Institute Auditorium, Caltech

Short Course: Satellite Communication with Laser Beams - The Next Wave
Introductory Lectures - Open to all interested students, researchers and faculty

Time
Event
Speaker

8:00 - 8:30

Coffee and Refreshments

8:30 - 8:45

Logistics / Introduction

Michele Judd

Team Lead

8:45 - 9:30

Introduction to Optical Communication for Satellites

Suzana Sburlan

Michael Kueppers

9:30 - 10:15

Optical Communication Flight Systems

Bryan Robinson

10:15 - 10:45

Break

10:45 - 11:30

NICT's Optical Communication Projects and Ground Station Development

Morio Toyoshima

11:30 - 12:15

Optical Communication for SmallSats and CubeSats

Harlan Spence

Renny Fields

12:15 - 12:30

Discussion

All

12:30 - 1:30

Short Course Ends: Informal Lunch is Provided at Beckman Insitute Courtyard

Invitation-Only Workshop Begins

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

1:30 - 1:45

Walk to Keck Center, pick up badge and welcome packet, find seat in the Think Tank

1:45 - 2:30

Workshop Logistics and Introduction to KISS

Michele Judd

2:30 - 3:00

Participants Introductions

Michele Judd

3:00 - 3:30

Study Vision and Goals for the Workshop

Team Leads

3:30 - 4:00

Break

4:00 - 5:00

Finalize Study Vision and Workshop Goals via Plenary Discussion

Team Leads

5:00 - 5:30

Solicitation of Lightning Talks

Team Leads

6:00

KISS-Hosted Dinner at the Athenaeum


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker

8:00 - 8:30

Coffee and Refreshments

8:30 - 8:45

Logistics

Michele Judd

8:45 - 9:15

Day 2 Workshop Objectives and Goals - Introduction of Special Topics Areas

Team Leads

9:15 - 10:15

Special Topic Talk: Cubesat Optical Communications: ACS Hardware Testing at JPL (SSDT Task) and Acquisition and Tracking Simulation (DSOC)

Joel Shields

10:15 - 10:45

Break

10:45 - 11:30

Small Satellite Laser Comm Pointing

Darren Rowen

11:30 - 12:00

Laser Communications Downlink and Crosslink Designs for CubeSats

Emily Clements

12:00 - 12:15

X-Ray Telescopes

Brian Greffenstette
12:15 - 12:30 Walk to the Athenaeum

12:30 - 2:00

KISS-Hosted Lunch at the Athenaeum

2:00 - 2:30

Communication Solutions

Ryan Kingsbury

2:30 - 3:30

Breakout Groups Meet

Deep Space/Lunar, LEO-Gnd, Crosslinks

3:30 - 4:00

Break

4:00 - 4:30

Breakout Groups Meet

Deep Space/Lunar, LEO-Gnd, Crosslinks

4:30 - 5:30

Report Out from Groups

Brian/Darren, Varoujan, Suzana/Ryan

5:30 - 7:30

POSTER SESSIONS and KISS-Hosted Informal Food Truck Dinner at the Keck Center (dinner starts at 6:30pm)


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker

8:00 - 8:30

Coffee and Refreshments

8:30 - 8:45

Logistics

Michele Judd

8:45 - 9:15

Progress Update: Goals for Day 3

Team Leads

9:15 - 10:15

Special Topic Talk: Lasers and Detectors for Cubesat Optical Comm.

Groups

9:45 - 10:15

Special Topic Talk: Lasers and Detectors for SmallSat Optical Communications

Michael Kraniak

10:15 - 10:45

Break

10:45- 11:15

Power Subsystem Options for CubeSat OpComm

Dhack Muthulingham

11:15 - 12:30

Breakout Groups Meet

Deep-Space/Lunar, LEO-Gnd, Crosslinks

12:30 - 2:00

Free Time / Lunch on Your Own

2:00 - 2:30

Free Think Time (individual or self organizing small groups)

All

2:30 - 3:15

Reverberation Mapping: Trading Time for Spatial Resolution

Varoujan Gorjian

3:14 - 4:00

Breakout Groups Meet (continued)

Deep-Space/Lunar, LEO-Gnd, Crosslinks

4:00 - 4:30

Break

4:30 - 5:30

Plenary Discussion

Brian/Darren, Varoujan, Suzana/Bryan

5:30

Pack Up and Walk to Athenaeum

All

6:00

KISS-Hosted Dinner at the Athenaeum (with spouses and significant others)


Thursday July 14, 2016

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker

8:00 - 8:30

Coffee and Refreshments

8:30 - 8:45

Logistics

Michele Judd

8:45 - 9:15

Progress Update: Goals for Day 4 (what success looks like at the end of this workshop)

Team Leads

9:15 - 9:45

INSPECT Lessons Learned

Harlan Spence

10:15 - 10:45

Break

10:45 - 12:00

Breakout Groups

All

12:00-12:30 Reports Out Suzana, Varoujan

12:30 - 2:00

KISS-Hosted Lunch at the Athenaeum

2:00 - 2:20

Reports Out

Brian

2:20 - 2:50 A preliminary study on onboard resources for RF and optical systems and the applicability for microsatellites Morio Toyoshima

2:50 - 3:45

Final Breakout Sessions

Deep Space/Lunar, LEO-Gnd, Crosslinks

3:45 - 4:15

Break

4:15 - 4:45

Final Report Outs, Collaboration Plan

ABrian, Varoujan, Suzana

4:45 - 5:00

Workshop Closeout

Michele Judd

5:00

Workshop Concludes


Workshop Participants:

  • Derek Barnes – MIT
  • Kerri Cahoy – MIT
  • Alberto Carrasco-Casado – National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
  • Emily Clements – MIT
  • Sam Dolinar – JPL
  • Renny Fields – The Aerospace Corporation
  • Peter Goorjian – NASA Ames Research Center
  • Varoujan Gorjian – JPL
  • Brian Grefenstette – Caltech
  • Brian Gunter – Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Fiona Harrison – Caltech
  • Travis Imken – JPL
  • Maxim Khatsenko - MIT
  • Ryan Kingsbury - Planet Labs
  • David Klumpar - Montana State University 
  • Michael Krainak – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Michael Küeppers – European Space Agency
  • Joe Kusters – JPL
  • Myron Lee – MIT  
  • Rachel Morgan – MIT  
  • Dhack Muthulingam – JPL
  • Joseph (Ed) Riedel – JPL
  • Kathleen Riesing – MIT
  • Bryan Robinson - MIT
  • Darren Rowen – The Aerospace Corp.
  • Suzana  Sburlan - JPL
  • Joel  Shields – JPL
  • Harlan Spence - University of New Hampshire
  • Morio Toyoshima - National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
  • Hua Xie - JPL

Short Course Presentations

Renny Fields
The Aerospace Corporation
Small Sat Lasercom
(1.9 MB .pdf)

Michael Küeppers
European Space Agency


Suzana Sburlan
JPL

Introduction to Optical Communications for Satellites
(1.7 MB .pdf)
(video)
Introduction to Optical Communication for Satellites
(939 KB .pdf)

Bryan Robinson
MIT

Optical Communication Flight Systems
(63.45 MB .pdf)
(video)
Harlan Spence
University of New Hampshire
Optical Communications for SmallSats and CubeSats or "Everything you always wanted to know about Small Enabling eXperiments"
(3.4 MB .pdf)
(video)
Morio Toyoshima
National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
NICT's optical communication projects and ground station development
(3.34 MB .pdf)

Workshop Presentations

Emily Clements
MIT
Laser Communications Downlink and Crosslink Designs for CubeSats
(3.8 MB .pdf)
Varoujan Gorjian
JPL
Reverberation Mapping: Trading Time for Spatial Resolution
(2.4 MB .pdf)
Ryan Kingsbury
Planet Labs
Communication Solutions
(3.4 MB .pdf)
Michael Krainak
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Lasers and detectors for SmallSat Op2cal Communica2ons
(6.55 MB .pdf)
Dhack Muthulingam
JPL
Power Subsystem Options for CubeSat OpComm
(1.7 MB .pdf)
Darren Rowen
The Aerospace Corp.

Small Satellite Laser Comm Pointing
(1.3 MB .pdf)

Joel Shields
JPL
Cubesat Optical Communications: ACS Hardware Testing at JPL (SSDT Task) and Acquisition and Tracking Simulation (DSOC)
(9.3 MB .pdf)