Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
14 Sep 2010
 | 14 Sep 2010

Atmospheric influence on a laser beam observed on the OICETS – ARTEMIS communication demonstration link

A. Löscher

Abstract. In 2006 bi-directional optical inter-satellite communication experiments were conducted between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Optical Inter-orbit Communications Engineering Test Satellite (OICETS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) multi-purpose telecommunications and technology demonstration satellite (Advanced Relay and Technology MISsion) ARTEMIS. On 5 April 2006, an experiment was successfully carried out by maintaining the inter-satellite link during OICETS's setting behind the Earth limb until the signal was lost. This setup resembles an occultation observation where the influence of Earth's atmosphere is evident in the power fluctuations recorded at ARTEMIS's (and OICETS's) receiver. These fluctuations do not exist or are at a low level at a link path above the atmosphere and steadily increase as OICETS sets behind the horizon until the tracking of the signal is lost. This specific experiment was performed only once since atmospheric science was not the goal of this demonstration. Nevertheless, this kind of data, if available more frequently in future, can help to study atmospheric turbulence and validate models. The data present here were recorded at ARTEMIS.