JPL 1U Optical Communications Terminal

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Although not yet flown, JPL has mature designs for a 1U lasercomm terminal to be flown on a future CubeSat. The terminal, occupying 1U of a proposed 6U satellite, features a 7 cm transmit/receive aperture with a optical tracking system capable of achieving on the order of 10 urad angular accuracy.[1] The proposed terminal uses a 0.5W laser of unspecified frequency, assumes a ground telescope 1m in aperture diameter (using superconducting nanowire photon detectors), and predicts a data rate between 150 and 200 Mbits/s. Such satellites have been proposed for lunar and interplanetary missions, for which their small mass and high data rates give them considerable potential. [2]