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Autonomous Laser-based Inter-satellite Gigabit communications Network (ALIGN)

Free-space optical communications inter-satellite links

Contact: Cyril Bourgenot

Satellites currently use radio frequencies to transmit data, but this has limited capacity and is vulnerable to disruption. Lasers, however, can transmit 1,000 times more data per second than radio frequency and can do it much more securely.

CfAI has been working  with Northumbria University, e2E and Smart Sentry to develop a new laser-based optical system for satellite communications capable of being housed in a CubeSat.

The ALIGN mission due to be launched in 2025 will carry the FOCUS (Freespace Optical Communication Unit for Space) payload and will demonstrate interlink communication at rates higher than 1Gb/s.

Cubesat communications module developed at Durham

ALIGN Prototype optical communications CubeSat.