Abstract

It has been demonstrated experimentally for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that reliable laser communication at 1.55 μm can be established with reentry spacecraft across the entire atmospheric descent trajectory as a way to avoid radio blackout. A plasma sheath with parameters similar to those around the spacecraft is reproduced at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Mechanics Institute Shock Tube Facility. Our experiments validate that the currently existing, high-maturity-level, free-space laser communication technology can provide real-world laser link implementation with the descending spacecraft.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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