Laser experiments in light cloudiness with the geostationary satellite ARTEMIS

1Kuzkov, VP, 1Kuzkov, SV, 2Sodnik, Z
1Main Astronomical Observatory of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
2ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Space Sci.&Technol. 2016, 22 ;(4):38-50
Section: Space Navigation and Communications
Publication Language: English
The geostationary satellite ARTEMIS was launched in July 2001. The satellite is equipped with a laser communication terminal, which was used for the world’s first inter-satellite laser communication link between ARTEMIS and the low earth orbit satellite SPOT-4. Ground-to-space laser communication experiments were also conducted under various atmospheric conditions involving ESA’s optical ground station. With a rapidly increasing volume of information transferred by geostationary satellites, there is a rising demand for high-speed data links between ground stations and satellites. For ground-to-space laser communications there are a number of important design parameters that need to be addressed, among them, the influence of atmospheric turbulence in different atmospheric conditions and link geometries.
                  The Main Astronomical Observatory of NAS of Ukraine developed a precise computer tracking system for its 0.7 m AZT-2 telescope and a compact laser communication package LACES (Laser Atmosphere and Communication Experiments with Satellites) for laser communication experiments with geostationary satellites. The specially developed software allows computerized tracking of the satellites using their orbital data. A number of laser experiments between MAO and ARTEMIS were conducted in partial cloudiness with some amount of laser light observed through clouds. Such conditions caused high break-up (splitting) of images from the laser beacon of ARTEMIS. One possible explanation is Raman scattering of photons on molecules of a water vapor in the atmosphere. Raman scattering causes a shift in a wavelength of the photons. In addition, a different value for the refraction index appears in the direction of the meridian for the wavelength-shifted photons. This is similar to the anomalous atmospheric refraction that appears at low angular altitudes above the horizon. We have also estimated the atmospheric attenuation and the influence of atmospheric turbulence on observed results. The results and interpretations are presented in the paper.
Keywords: atmosphere, clouds, laser communication, satellite, scattering
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