Abstract

Research and development in ultra-stable RF transport in optical fibers in the late-1970s/early-1980s at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory led to successful field deployments in the three global sites of the NASA Deep Space Network which have been in continuous operation for the past three decades. This RF-over-fiber system underpinned critical tracking, navigation and communications functions for every deep space mission during this period and into the future. Successful operation of this system led to adoption of RF photonics as a fundamental infrastructure technology incorporated today in every deep space tracking antenna network and radio telescope worldwide. This RF-over-fiber system is also deployed in NASA's ground-based and space-borne planetary imaging and mapping radars. These systems were a predecessor to commercial RF-over-fiber networks which are key infrastructure components of today's cable and wireless industries. This paper provides an exposition of a number of NASA antennas, arrays and radar systems in which RF-over-fiber transport has played an enabling role.

© 2014 IEEE

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