While the commercial space industry seems reluctant to invest in the optical communication ground segment as very few satellites have optical communications terminals on-board, KSAT has taken a pro-active approach towards operationalizing this groundbreaking technology by installing a commercial optical ground station in Greece this year. KSAT is now taking the next step and is, as part of an ESA project, establishing an operational optical ground network, the European Optical Nucleus Network (EONN).
KSAT is integrating all optical partner stations to one Network Operations Center providing seamless access. To be able to operate the antennas as a network from one access point, KSAT is developing new software that emulates the feeling of a seamless network and makes it easy to schedule the resources through the existing KSAT interface.
The automatic interface enables easy scheduling, booking and reservation, and as a result, all stations in the network can be addressed in the same way as any other KSAT antenna. This is the same approach as the KSAT global RF network is operated today, and as the market grows the network can easily be extended around the world to complement existing RF networks.
With a single Reservation system, the user will be able to access all OGS’s in the nucleus network. Once the optical market gets enough traction the network can easily be extended around the world and become a high data rate complement to RF networks. The network can also be used for future lunar communications.
The ESA-ESOC ELRS at Tenerife, the DLR-GSOC at Almeria and the KSAT station at Nemea in Greece (called the Nucleus stations) will be connected to the KSAT Tromsø Network Operations Centre (TNOC). The stations are aiming to be compliant with the HPE standards using the optical band around 1550nm.