It is not new information that lasers and laser systems became an essential part of modern life. The fields of their application are not limited by physics and medicine. Nowadays laser modules are quite often used at space stations and demonstrate good results that will be useful for space exploration.
At the present time a team of researchers is developing a novel technology that will provide a high-bandwidth communication between CubeSats and the Earth with the help of laser systems. This laser module technology enable the CubeSat to send a big amount of information with a second directional laser beam to keep the primary data beam on focus without using of any huge antennae or fuel wasting.
The CubeSat is considered to be a force for scientific, commercial, military and space progress due to its low cost and compact size that is about a loaf of bread. Moreover, CubeSats allow collecting data about the weather or anti-missile defenses and they can be sent up at the right moment instead of a single, huge satellite.
Nevertheless, CubeSats are not so good at data transmission because they are able to send the information that is equal to several images at a time. New laser systems allow transmitting a big amount of hyperspectral images quickly that is equivalent of the terabyte data transmission at a high rate.
It should be mentioned that even traditional radio system are not efficient with this type of information and CubeSats’ access is limited, that is why now space engineers consider the use of laser modules to be a faster means of communication. The advantages of such laser systems include better bandwidth, compact size and high power efficiency.
Unfortunately, the small size of CubeSats causes a lot of problems for lasers. The main problem is the need for a tilt of the entire satellite to aim the beam that is unacceptable because this costs time, energy, and fuel that the probe cannot afford to waste.
The new technology allows pointing laser module more precisely and keep it on the aim without needing to move the CubeSat or to use a high-powered laser system. This laser-pointing platform exploits a compact laser that is reflected in a small, standard, steerable MEMS mirror to direct it at the ground receiver.
The main advantage of the laser system is that not only does it point the laser, but it helps to keep it locked on the aim. Also the system has to recalibrate the mirror in orbit using two different color lasers (the data and the calibration beams). The technology allows producing a low-power system with the narrow laser beams on this small platform that is 10 to 100 smaller than it was before.
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