As optical communication in space is rapidly progressing and more and more in flight validation of the technology in LEO and GEO (SILEX, LCT) and even from the Moon (LADEE) is accumulated the current study s focusing on the deep space communication architecture for an optical downlink from a deep space probe directly to Earth. The emphasis hereby is particularly on the ground segment.
Analyses of deep space employment of optical communication terminals have been done before and the present bidding team has participated in many of them. It is understood that this analysis shall not repeat the more generic aspect of these prior studies. Rather it will be based on these prior results and develop an optical communication architecture for a data downlink from 4 different mission scenarios directly to Earth (relay satellites are explicitly excluded in the statement of work).
Phase 1 will focus on two aspects:
Phase 2 will develop the communication architecture and the terminal requirements:
Phase 3 focuses on conceptual design of optical communication terminals, again with the focus on the ground segment.
Finally Phase 4 will establish a development roadmap with cost estimates (including operating cost).