Transmitting data from space has been one of the most challenging issues space agencies encounter in space. For decades scientists have been researching how to improve our data transmission speed from distance space world to Earth. Chinese satellite seems to have reached an unexpected transmitting speed in its recent laser communication test.
Channgguang Satellite Technology, which is a state-owned company recently announced its achievement in deploying laser-based high-speed communication technology on its commercial satellite. The organization based in the Jilin province of China has successfully attained major milestones in creating several space technologies including the recent high-speed laser communication. Chinese scientists revealed that scientific achievement has boosted the speed of space-to-ground data transmission about tenfold.
The researchers that participated in the recent testing achieved a groundbreaking 10 gigabytes per second (Gbps). Scientists revealed that the recent achievement has made it possible for lasers to stand as data carriers to provide a more massive spectrum than regular microwave technology. Once this technology is in full operation in the future, it will surely improve the way we communicate with satellites in space from Earth.
How Scientists Carried Out This Laser Communication Test
Scientists from the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR), a firm that is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted this successful test by setting up the satellite-to-ground link with the aid of lasers. During the testing, some of the researchers that are among the ground-based team received laser signals transmitted from the Jilin-1 MF02A04 satellite.
This satellite is a part of the Earth’s largest imaging satellite network named the Julin-1 constellation. Scientists have used this constellation to monitor several sectors like urban planning, disaster monitoring, landing resource, and many others. Li Yalin, the leader of the ground system at the Aerospace Information Research Institute clearly described the benefits of laser communication with this statement.
“Using the common microwave at 375 MHz is like driving on a single lane, and the emerging [technology of a] higher 1.5 GHz microwave would be a four-lane road. Lasers, meanwhile, can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of lanes,” Li Yalin told South China Morning Post.
The scientists used the Jilin-1 transmitter to send several images as the first set including a photo of the capital of Qatar, Doha.
What is The Future of this Laser Communication Technology
Communication between satellite and ground-based technologies is one of the biggest challenges space agencies often encounter. As China successfully test-runs the laser-based high-speed communication technology, they will surely improve the way we obtain data at a faster rate from deep space. Laser offers extra benefits of additional strong security due to their powerful anti-electromagnetic interference potentials.
China is not the only country working on using lasers to transmit data from deep space. Last year, the American Space Agency partnered with scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) system. Their collaborative efforts generated a downlink speed of 100 Gbps during the test experiment last June. However, in 2023, the team doubled this downlink speed attaining a greater feat in their experiments.
NASA truly made great progress in using laser communication technologies on demonstration satellites. This type of laser communication transmitted data at a faster rate than communication technologies currently in use by commercial satellites.
China is now advancing the way we communicate from space with its new space technology. The country is working on commercial satellite design with a more extended lifespan providing a platform for other forms of practical application. During their recent testing, Chinese scientists achieved great success which will now enable large-scale application of 40 Gps satellite-to-ground laser communication payloads.
China is working on the Jilin-1 constellation to become more powerful in satellite communication technology. The country is hoping to increase the constellation size to 138 satellites before the end of the year. This increment will complete the second phase of the Jilin-1 constellation construction by 2025 when it will increase to a network of 300 satellites.
At the completion of this constellation, China is hoping to obtain a massive amount of data daily from the system’s powerful remote sensing potential. Hence, the constellation will serve the increasing demand for data transmission from satellites to ground-based technologies and between satellites in space. What do you think about this fascinating technology?