Starlink satellites move data quickly among themselves with lasers for fast transmit speeds and low latency

Oct. 18, 2021
Lasers can provide immense bandwidth, thanks to advances in technology that allow more precise control of a beam; traditional RF links can’t keep up.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. – One of the next big upgrades in telecommunications will involve satellites firing lasers at each other—to beam data, not blow stuff up. Fast Company reports Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

18 Oct. 2021 -- The upside of replacing traditional RF communication with lasers, that encode data as pulses of light is like deploying optical fiber for terrestrial broadband: fast speeds and low latency.

The first batch of laser-equipped Starlink satellites went up to polar orbits in January. Its most recent launch last month featured version 1.5 spacecraft with the latest laser technology.

SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif., the builder of Starlink, may be getting the most attention for its use of optical communications, but several companies are developing laser systems to deploy on satellites and even in applications closer to Earth.

Related: Optical links are key to next-generation military communications satellite

Related: Communicating at the speed of light: laser technology enables high-bandwidth communication and imagery

Related: NASA, DOD take the next step in laser communications

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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