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## Optical on–off keying data links for low Earth orbit downlink applications

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Within this chapter, high-speed optical satellite data downlinks have been reviewed and the key characteristics of this application scenario have been described. The excellent properties of optical links, especially the high data rate, license free operation and favourable SWaP (size, weight and power) provide a game-changing technological alternative to RF-links for Earth observation satellite operators. Despite some drawbacks of the technology, industries and research organisations around the world are now developing optical communication systems that are suitable for downlink applications, demonstrating the potential of the technology and underlining its future importance for various applications.

Chapter Contents:

• 11.1 The scenario and history of optical LEO data downlinks
• 11.1.1 Optical LEO downlink experiments overview
• 11.1.2 Performance and geometrical restrictions
• 11.1.2.1 Throughput advantage and spectrum issues
• 11.1.3 Data rates and rate change for a variable link budget
• 11.2 Link design
• 11.2.1 Propagation channel model
• 11.2.2 Transmission equation
• 11.2.3 Link budget
• 11.2.4 Pointing, acquisition and tracking
• 11.2.5 Direct detection modulation formats and rate variation
• 11.2.6 OOK RFE performance and impact on link budget
• 11.2.7 Error control techniques for Gaussian channels
• 11.2.8 Interleaving in the atmospheric fading channel
• 11.3 Hardware
• 11.3.1 Space hardware
• 11.3.2 Ground hardware
• 11.4 Summary and outlook
• References

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