After reading some articles and posting questions 1, 2 I think, the main challenges are PAT (Pointing Acquisition, and Tracking) system and operating environment. We must put the beam onto the receiver (Rx) or other terminal and keep it with the best precision and then we have acquisition we need to setup a link via atmosphere.

There are some supplies of the lasercom terminal, it means they solved these two problems, right? What solution did they find?

Technical references provide only the main parameters and no detailed information, unfortunately.

What are practical and cheap approach to implementation of PAT?


1 Answer 1


You said that the main challenges are:

  1. PAT
  2. Operating environment

Yes they are solved problems. But please elaborate: Who said these are the main challenges? In the links you gave, someone mentioned market conditions, and I mentioned industrialisation, atmospheric effects, and precise pointing, just as examples but didn't at all go into whether they were significant barriers to entry, or the biggest technological challenges (highly debatable).

I think the assumptions in your question are false.

PAT is a challenge for sure, but if the resources are there the solution is easy; usually making use of electromechanical gimbals on the ground, body-pointing or electromechanical systems on the satellite, fast steering mirrors or VSCEL arrays, equipment for attitude and orbit determination and control, control algorithms and other subsystems.

'Operating environment' is a solved problem too - the operating environment being "space". There are thousands of satellites operating just fine, and have been as far back as 1957 with the Sputnik-1.

  • $\begingroup$ ok, if all questions are solved, what is a reason of the small market of optical terminals? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ A good answer would start with looking at the assumption "small market", taking account of trends and market share, and of all market forces and macroeconomic factors (Porter's 5 Forces, PESTLE Analysis). For a concise response, the market is currently in a rapid growth phase, with market research report projections ranging from 25% to 40% year-on-year growth over the next 5 years. Private and governmental funding in space-based lasercom has only been increasing in recent years, and is expected to continue this trend, notably with the planned launch of various new sat constellations. $\endgroup$
    – Polar_Bear
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ small market for small satellite. I have found less than 5 terminals with TRL 9 $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 7:13
  • $\begingroup$ I think 5 terminal are small market. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Anna Koroleva, "I, myself, have found X=5" doesn't prove that X is not much larger than 5 (unless I share my research methodology and convince it's a correct one). In addition, "5 terminals" equals "small market" is not a serious conclusion. It is easy to show that, at some time in the past there were also 5 TV sets, 5 jet planes, 5 personal computers, 5 mobile phones, ... $\endgroup$
    – Ng Ph
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 14:15

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