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Space Week 2023 Celebration

Hosted By: Space Optics Technical Group

16 October 2023 10:00 - 10:00

You’re invited to join the Space Optics Technical Group for their inaugural event! This webinar celebrating Space Week 2023 will kick-off with an introduction from Nikos Karafolas, Senior Engineer and Technical Officer at the European Space Agency.

Giampiero Naletto, University of Padova, will then present a brief introduction to space optics. Space optics is more and more a strategic field, with plenty of scientific, civilian, military, commercial applications. Space optics is often the "lab" where new technologies are developed, which then have important fallouts for civilian uses. Prof. Naletto will review why we are using optical instruments on board of satellites, what type of instruments are typically used, what are the main optical technologies used and what are presently under development, mainly now under the pressure of the availability of the much cheapest cubesat-nanosat.

Next, Curt Schieler, MIT Lincoln Lab, will give a talk on ‘On-orbit Demonstration of 200-Gbps Laser Communication from Low-Earth Orbit to Ground.’ Since launch in May 2022, the TeraByte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD) mission has successfully demonstrated 200-Gbps laser communication downlinks from a 6U CubeSat in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and has delivered up to 4.8 terabytes (TB) error-free in a 5-minute pass. To our knowledge, this is the fastest downlink ever achieved from space. The TBIRD space and ground terminals leverage commercial fiber-coupled coherent transceivers along with a custom Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ) protocol to ensure error-free communication through the atmospheric fading channel. This talk presents an overview of the system architecture and link performance results from the mission.

About Our Presenters:

Nikos Karafolas, European Space Agency

Dr. Nikos Karafolas is a Senior Engineer and Technical Officer at the European Space Agency. His work focuses on developing photonics technologies for various ESA missions. He has actively contributed to the development of ESA’s Strategic Approach for Introducing Photonics in Spacecraft Engineering for communications, signal processing, sensing and wireless optics. Prior to joining ESA in 1998 he was a Research Fellow at the University College London and holds the PhD from the University of Strathclyde, UK. He also has an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Herriot Watt University, UK. 

Giampiero Naletto, University of Padova

Dr. Giampiero Naletto is currently an Associate Professor of experimental physics at the University of Padova in Italy. His research focuses on the realization and usage of innovative optical instrumentation, mainly for space and ground astronomical applications. He has contributed to the development of several instruments for both NASA and ESA missions, such as UVCS on SOHO, FUSE, the OSIRIS imaging system on Rosetta, and Metis on Solar Orbiter to name a few. Dr. Giampiero received his PhD from the University of Padova in 1988 and has work experience with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Science Laboratory, at the University of California, Berkeley. He has authored/co-authored over 350 publications in various international Journals and conference proceedings. 

Curt Schieler, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Dr. Curt Schieler is a member of the technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and currently leads the TBIRD laser terminal mission. His research focuses on developing next-generation optical communication technologies for space applications and building the hardware for it. Curt received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 2009 and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 2014. Since 2014, he has been a member of MIT Lincoln Laboratory and recently received the 2022 Early Career Technical Achievement Award. He has published more than 35 technical papers in various conferences and journals to date.

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