Laser beacon for CubeSat satellites to be packaged by Avo Photonics

Nov. 2, 2012
Horsham, PA--Avo Photonics was chosen by The Aerospace Corporation to package laser illumination sources used on CubeSat miniaturized spaceborne satellites.

Horsham, PA--Microoptic design and production and optoelectronics packaging company Avo Photonics (acquired by Halma in 2011) was chosen by The Aerospace Corporation (Los Angeles, CA) to develop and provide ongoing packaging services for a semiconductor laser illumination source for use on CubeSat miniaturized spaceborne satellites.

The Aerospace Corporation says Avo was chosen because of its capabilities in rugged space-qualified manufacturing, including precision optical alignment, welding, and environmental sealing, while achieving optical performance to meet The Aerospace Corporation's tight specifications. The program required Avo to produce a 10 W continuous-wave (CW) laser beam at a wavelength of 795 nm within a few degrees of the CubeSat reference axis system. Operating at 30% efficiency, the high-powered optical source is designed to run over numerous illumination cycles. To ensure that the components were mission ready, Avo tested the optoelectronic performance of the lasers over the defined qualification limits for temperature, vibration and shock.

The Aerospace Corporation says it is at the forefront of miniaturized satellite technology, developing high-function electrooptic space mission technologies on a rapid schedule, from concept to implementation, using CubeSat hosts. Decreases in size and mass allow for lower launch cost while still enabling the use of cutting-edge components to achieve mission success. Larger satellites can take five to 10 years to design, build and fly, while CubeSats can be completed and launched in as few as one to two years such that breakthrough technology arrives in space with less financial risk.

"Avo's heritage involves producing lasers for the space environment, so we know how imperative it is to provide only the most stable, robust components and assemblies," said Joseph Dallas, president of Avo Photonics. "We have the expertise to balance the challenges imposed by spaceborne instruments with the size, cost and delivery time constraints of The Aerospace Corporation's CubeSat Programs."

The Aerospace Corporation ( provides independent technical and scientific research, development and advisory services to national security space programs since 1960. It operates a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office and supports all national security space programs. It also applies more than 50 years of experience with space systems to projects for civil agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commercial companies, universities, and international organizations in the national interest.

SOURCE: Avo 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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