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NASA Awards PathFinder Digital Free Space Optics Contract

By Annamarie Nyirady | April 25, 2019
Photo: PathFinder Digital

Photo: PathFinder Digital

NASA awarded a contract to PathFinder Digital to study the feasibility of developing a transportable research and test platform to facilitate the design of Free Space Optic (FSO) satellite networks. The study focuses on the development of Optical Ground Stations (OGS) and their interoperability to Optical Space Terminals (OST).  The study also focuses on the development of atmospheric mitigation techniques such as site diversity, cognitive networking, and hybrid lasercom/Radio Frequency (RF) networks.

The transportable test platform aims to provide both U.S. industry and the U.S. government the tools necessary to refine standards and facilitate FSO development. PathFinder specializes in the development of mobile ground terminal satellite communications solutions engineered to meet the needs of each project, primarily for military and government agency programs.

“Laser communications is likely to be a disruptive technology in the field of satellite communications, especially regarding its use as a backbone for space to ground communications with Geostationary Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) networks.  PathFinder is proud to be at the forefront of free space optic communications. Our growing expertise in laser/optical communications is a great supplement to our extensive experience in RF communications.  We look forward to continuing our work in this field with NASA, other U.S. government agencies and industry,” said Roger McGarrahan, CEO of PathFinder Digital.