Abstract

Establishing a link between a ground station and a geosynchronous orbiting satellite can be aided greatly with the use of a beacon on the satellite. A tracker, or even an adaptive optics system, can use the beacon during communication or tracking activities to correct beam pointing for atmospheric turbulence and mount jitter effects. However, the pointing lead-ahead required to illuminate the moving object and an aperture mismatch between the tracking and the pointing apertures can limit the effectiveness of the correction, as the sensed tilt will not be the same as the tilt required for optimal transmission to the satellite. We have developed an analytical model that addresses the combined impact of these tracking issues in a ground-to-satellite optical link. We present these results for different tracker/pointer configurations. By setting the low-pass cutoff frequency of the tracking servo properly, the tracking errors can be minimized. The analysis considers geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites as well as low Earth orbit satellites.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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