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Laser Communication Module

Small size, high throughput optical communications module for nanosatellites

CubeCAT is a compact, high performance laser communication terminal for use in CubeSats and small satellites. The laser communications module enables a bidirectional space-to-ground communication link between a CubeSat and an optical ground station, with downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps and uplink data rate of 200 Kbps.

Using optical communication circumvents tedious radio licensing procedures and enables high performing payloads on small platforms.

The module is designed according to the size, mass and power constraints inherent to small satellites of the nanosat class and is compatible with standard CubeSat platforms. Due to its built-in attitude determination and control error compensation system, it allows for relaxed requirements on the host satellite ADCS.

CubeCAT features an on-board data management system, featuring a large data storage buffer, and built-in data coding and synchronization. This makes the CubeCAT module a plug-and-play integrated communications subsystem.

The CubeCAT is part of the CubeCAT Lasercom system and is the result of a joint effort by AAC Clyde Space and TNO.

Robust 

AAC Clyde Space’s proven iADCS technology,digital processing technology and experience in electronic systems for space in general has been applied in the CubeCAT system to create a system that is efficient, robust, and easy to use both for the satellite developer and the satellite operator.

Performance 

This system suits commercial CubeSat applications well, with modest size and power requirements and no licensing requirements, but also meets the increasing need for high data rates in small satellites, through offering a large data rate with a small volume terminal.

Modular 

Featuring a large data storage buffer, the CubeCAT terminal has a built-in data coding and synchronization. This makes the CubeCAT module a plug-and-play integrated communications subsystem.

Why CubeCAT?

  • Bidirectional space-to-ground communication
  • Optical communication
  • Compatible with standard CubeSat platforms
  • Downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps
  • Uplink data rate of 200 Kbps.
  • 64 GB data storage buffer
  • Built-in attitude determination and control error compensation system
  • On-board data management system, featuring a large data storage buffer, and built-in data coding and synchronization.

Technical Specifications

Performance
Raw datarate modes (downlink) 100/300/1000 Mbps
Raw datarate (uplink) 200 kbps
On-board buffer size >64 GB
Maximum slant range 1000 km
Host satellite platform constraints
Pointing accuracy <8.7/0.5/1800 mrad/deg/arcsec (3-sigma)
Low frequency vibration velocity (<20Hz) < 2.445 mrad/s (3-sigma)
High frequency vibration/jitter amplitude (>20Hz) <15/0.86/3.1 µrad/mdeg/arcsec (3-sigma)
Pointing knowledge error <0.3/17.2/61.9 mrad/mdeg/arcsec (3-sigma)
Dimensions
Outer dimensions 96 x 96 x 96 mm
Mass <1.33 kg
Environmental
Operating temperature -20 - +40 °C
Electrical
Min. Typ. Max.
Supply voltage digital 4.75 5 5.25 V
Supply voltage Vbat 9.6 21 V
Bus logic level voltage 1.8 Referenced to VREF3 5.1 V
Power consumption (total) TBD4 155 TBC Q

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