DARPA and CACI demonstrate optical satellite links

Low-Earth orbit demonstration last month supports U.S. National Defense Space Architecture.

CACI International has announced that it has successfully demonstrated “space-to-space optical communications links in low earth orbit” with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Space Development Agency – as part of the Mandrake II program.

CACI International is a photonics design services, free-space optics, and lidar sensing solutions company.

Mandrake II is a joint risk-reduction program with DARPA, SDA and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) to evaluate the pointing, acquisition, and tracking algorithms that allow for optical communication terminals to establish high-speed communication links in the upcoming Blackjack and SDA Transport and Tracking Layer constellations.

This successful test, completed using CACI’s CrossBeam free-space optical terminals, is the first step in establishing more secure, space-based communications networks for defense agencies using more powerful, efficient technology that can transmit more data, faster.

In December 2021, CACI acquired California-based SA Photonics to address a broader market spanning high-end manned flight programs to the proliferated LEO market. The combined companies offer advanced photonics engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. with three major manufacturing facilities in California, Florida, and New Jersey.

Source: https://optics.org/

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