Overview of the FSSCAT Optical Intersatellite Link (O-ISL) - Technology Demonstration


Event details

Date and time 17.10.2018 14:0015:00  
Place and room
Speaker Prof. Alessandro Golkar
Category Conferences - Seminars

The FSSCAT mission is expected to be launched onboard of the Vega SSMS Maiden Flight in mid 2019. In addition to its remote sensing objectives, the mission will demonstrate for the first time worldwide a reliable optical intersatellite link (O-ISL) between two 6U CubeSats flying in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). We have developed a technology demonstration with a full duplex O-ISL terminal of 1.5U in size (15cm x 10cm x 10cm), 85mm optical aperture, suitable for LEO to LEO operations on coarse pointing CubeSats (pointing accuracy < 0.5 deg). The terminal adopts a novel adaptive variable divergence laser mechanism with a hybrid payload/platform seek-and-track pointing algorithm, and an amplitude modulated signal to ensure reliable optical communications at 1 Gbps at a nominal intersatellite distance of up to 2,000 km in LEO. In addition of establishing an intersatellite link, the terminal provides the ability for simultaneous imaging through the optical aperture and the improvement of the attitude determination capability of the hosting satellite through the mixing of optical information in the overall platform attitude feedback control loop. This presentation will describe the O-ISL systems architecture and the concept of operations of the optical intersatellite technology demonstration. The remote sensing objectives of FSSCAT, implemented by the team at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya led by Prof. Adriano Camps will be as well overviewed. The payloads carried onboard FSSCAT include a Flexible Microwave Payload-2 (FMPL-2), a GNSS-Reflectometer, an L-band radiometer with interference detection/mitigation, and a hyperspectral imaging instrument. The science objectives of the mission include the measurement of soil moisture, ice extent and thickness, as well as the detection of melting ponds over ice.

Alessandro Golkar is Associate Professor at Skoltech in Moscow, Russia, and Visiting Professor at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently serving as Vice President Concurrent Engineering in the Airbus Corporate Technology Office (CTO) organization in Toulouse, France. Prof. Golkar is the Principal Investigator of the Optical Intersatellite Link (O-ISL) experiment of the FSSCAT mission, funded by the European Space Agency, Overall Winner of the Copernicus Masters 2017 and 2017 ESA Sentinel Small Satellite Challenge. Prof. Golkar holds a Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Astronautics and Aerospace Engineering from the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”.


Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free



FSSCAT optical technology demonstration