Space Photonics SBIR to extend FSO communications to 7 km

June 21, 2013
Fayetteville, AR--Space Photonics was awarded a Phase II SBIR contract with the U.S. DoD to further develop its free space optical (FSO) laser communications technology, LaserFire.

Fayetteville, AR--Military and aerospace optical networking systems providerSpace Photonics was awarded a fifteen month, $332,000 dollar Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to further develop its laser communications technology, LaserFire, for secure point-to-point ground communications. SCHOTT North America and Harris Corporation partnered with Space Photonics to further develop and commercialize this technology.

The LaserFire system uses inherently secure free space optical communication ( technology and has been proven to provide reliable communications at speeds up to 10 Gbps. Space Photonics is working to extend the communication range to 7 km for fixed position, ground-based laser communication links and develop a scalable system to support longer-range communications on mobile and space platforms. The resulting system is intended to overcome the limitations of traditional radio frequency (RF) communications and be suitable for deployment in the congested environments characteristic of military and commercial communications networks.

"This contract allows us to help the military solve communications problems they've identified by increasing bandwidth capacities and extending communication ranges," said Terry Tidwell, chief engineer of free space optics at Space Photonics. "However, the applications of the LaserFire system go well beyond the scope of this contract as it can be used in cellular data backhaul and Metro-Area Networks to support day-to-day communication networks in the commercial sector."

Contract research and development will take place at the Space Photonics facilities in Fayetteville, AR. Final system manufacturing will take place at the SCHOTT North America facilities in Southbridge, MA. Harris Corporation will provide a dynamic buffering hybrid modem for system deployments.

SOURCE: Space Photonics;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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