Abstract

Laser satellite communication (LSC) uses free space as a propagation medium for various applications, such as intersatellite communication or satellite networking. An LSC system includes a laser transmitter and an optical receiver. For communication to occur, the line of sight of the transmitter and the receiver must be aligned. However, mechanical vibration and electronic noise in the control system reduce alignment between the transmitter laser beam and the receiver field of view (FOV), which results in pointing errors. The outcome of pointing errors is fading of the received signal, which leads to impaired link performance. An LSC system is considered in which the optical preamplifier is incorporated into the receiver, and a bit error probability (BEP) model is derived that takes into account the statistics of the pointing error as well as the optical amplifier and communication system parameters. The model and the numerical calculation results indicate that random pointing errors of σχ2G>0.05 penalize communication performance dramatically for all combinations of optical amplifier gains and noise figures that were calculated.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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