Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams

NASA has developed a new technology for space optical communications, including communications from the Earth to spacecraft in Earth orbit and in deep space, such as at the Moon and Mars. The innovation changes the architecture of space optical communications so that a new laser beam pointing technology is used to improve optical data transmissions from spacecraft. This technology will detect a signal laser beam and then return a modulated laser beam to the ground terminal or other transmitter station in a new way. This new design can replace current methods that either use a laser together with a pointing, acquisition, and tracking (PAT) procedure in the spacecraft, or a powerful ground-based laser with a retro-reflector in the spacecraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Data exchange, Lasers, Data exchange, Lasers, Ground support, Spacecraft

Hybrid Loop Element Design for Enhanced High-Frequency Reflector/Reflectarray Performance

The purpose of this invention is to provide a novel, low-loss, dual-band reflectarray element design that is transparent and low-loss across one frequency band (Ka-band in the initial application), and provides the phasing and beam collimation capability across the other band (W-band in the initial application). The surface comprises a periodic lattice of “hybrid loop” reflectarray elements that is phased to collimate a beam in a manner similar to that of a phased array. The reflectarray surface can be designed with arbitrary feed source positioning, which alleviates focal plane line contention between the two bands and enables the shared aperture design approach.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Radar, Waveguides, Radar, Waveguides

Using a Power Grid as an Extremely Large Antenna for Geophysical Imaging

Geomagnetic storms drive geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in high-voltage power transmission systems. GICs thus carry information about the near-space environment conditions. The U.S. high-voltage power transmission system was used as an extremely large antenna to extract unprecedented spatiotemporal space physical and geological information from distributed GIC observations.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Communications, Antennas, Data acquisition and handling, Antennas, Data acquisition and handling, Electric power grid

The Synergy of Engineering

At the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, Eplan Software & Service, with its affiliate company Cideon, introduced Syngineer, an innovative communication and information platform that integrates mechanical engineering, software engineering, and controls engineering through one mechatronic structure. Eplan, a sister company of Rittal Corporation in the Friedhelm Loh Group, offers Syngineer as a solution for simplifying synchronization across all three disciplines, accelerating design engineering and development.

Posted in: Articles, News, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Software

IoT Drives Demand for Automotive Circuit Protection Solutions

In the past, automobiles were made up of many independent electronic systems. Even the assembly lines that were used to manufacture the vehicles required the operation and management of multiple independent systems. However, the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed automotive electronics and assembly dramatically. The connectivity that used to only be available in the home or office is now available in modern automobiles. The car itself has now become the center of communication.

Posted in: Articles, News, Automotive, Communications

Mini-Stamp as a Micro-Display for At-a-Glance Subsystem Information for DSN Links

Operators of the Deep Space Network (DSN) attend to numerous tasks with the overall goal of providing continuous support for the world’s deep space missions. This high-stakes operations environment requires operators to understand the state of the DSN and predict what will happen next. Under the Follow-the-Sun initiative that requires remote operations of the highly complex telecommunications equipment, operators will need to remain aware of the state of the entire network rather than just their own facility, and transition fluidly between periods of low activity and periods of high demand.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Communications, Antennas, Telecommunications systems, Antennas, Telecommunications systems

Command and Data Handling for the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is the fourth mission of the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) program. The MMS mission, consisting of four identically instrumented spacecraft, will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study magnetic reconnection, a fundamental plasma-physical process that taps the energy stored in a magnetic field and converts it — typically explosively — into heat and kinetic energy in the form of charged particle acceleration and largescale flows of matter.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Magnetic materials, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

Ka-Band Parabolic Deployable Antenna (KaPDA)

CubeSats provide the ability to conduct relatively inexpensive space missions. Over the past several years, technology and launch opportunities for CubeSats have exploded, enabling a wide variety of missions. However, as instruments become more complex and CubeSats travel deeper into space, data communication rates become an issue as highlighted by a recent NASA centennial challenge proposal. A Ka-band highgain antenna would provide a ≈100× increase of data communication rates over an S-band high-gain antenna, and a ≈10,000× increase over an X-band patch antenna of the same input power, enabling high-rate data communication from deep space or the use of dataintensive instruments from low Earth orbit (LEO).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Communications, Antennas, Satellite communications, Antennas, Satellite communications

Full-Wave Matching Circuit Optimization Shortens Design Iterations

Full-wave matching circuit optimization (FW-MCO) is a new technology introduced by Remcom, which combines full wave 3D EM simulation and circuit optimization to solve an age-old RF problem:

determining which component values provide the desired match for a given matching network layout.

Posted in: White Papers, Communications, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software

Confidence Intervals for the Bit Error Rate of Coded Communications Systems

A new method provides a robust, rigorous confidence interval on which communications performance and system risk may be determined.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The bit error rate (BER) is a wellunderstood metric for measuring communications system performance. When a system is not amenable to analytical performance analysis, a Monte Carlo simulation is often used to determine the performance. In such simulations, it is necessary to compute a 95% (or other percent) confidence interval to establish the statistical significance of the simulation run, or to determine how long to run a simulation to achieve the desired accuracy.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Simulation and modeling, Telecommunications, Telecommunications

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