Optical Inter-Satellite Links

OISLs for communications in space

Fast Steering Mirrors, or FSMs, from piezosystem jena play critical roles in modern optical inter-satellite communication terminals.

As the workhorse of these terminals, an FSM allows for the stabilization and precise pointing of laser links between satellites. This is vital as a stable and secure connection is absolutely necessary for the efficient and consistent transfer of data. Especially in low earth orbit, atmospheric turbulence along with onboard vibrations can cause misalignment and link breakage. FSMs provide a solution by countering these vibrations through extremely fast and precise motion.

In general, piezo based FSMs are ideal for use in space environments due to a number of inherent technology benefits. Piezo solutions offer:

  • Instantaneous Response Times
  • No Electromagnetic Interference
  • Low Power Consumption

Satellites with fast steering tip-tilt mirrors for directing laser communications are being designed now for launch over the next few years.

Over the past ten years, piezosystem jena has developed an extensive product line of FSMs. Our FSMs are designed to provide the following benefits for use as Fine Steering Mirrors and Point Ahead Mirrors in optical terminals:

  • High Displacements – for faster Pointing, Acquisition, and Tracking
  • High Stiffness – to increase the achievable Bandwidth with large mirrors
  • Smart Flex-Hinge Designs – for friction and stiction free operation without mechanical wear, thus improving reliability
  • Small Form Factors – to allow for easier terminal integration and cheaper payload launch costs

Our FSMs:

  • Displacements up to ±20 mrad
  • Sub-microradian resolutions
  • Closed loop strain gauge feedback for elimination of hysteresis and drift
  • Bandwidths up to 6500 Hz
  • Shock and Vibration Tested (PSH 40)

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