SPACE FLIGHT SYSTEMS RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS PROGRAM OFFICE NATIONAL CENTER FOR SPACE EXPLORATION RESEARCH EXTERNAL PARTNERS EDUCATION/OUTREACH SPACE EXPLORATION BENEFITS PROGRAM SUPPORT



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Integrated RF and Optical Communications (iROC)


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Revolutionary Capability in an Evolutionary Manner


Objectives:


• Combine the best features of select deep space radio frequency (RF) and optical communication elements into an integrated system

• Prototype and demonstrate performance of key components to increase Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), leading to integrated hybrid communications system demonstration

Optimizing Component

Figure 1. Optimizing component integration of an RF/optical communication system.


Benefits:


• Offers potential 40x (optical) and 16x (RF) data rates with comparable MRO payload mass

• Reduces deep space mission risk for transition to optical communication technology by integrating highly capable and robust RF system (extensible design beyond Mars)

• Operates without requirement for uplink laser beacon

Lightweight

Figure 2. Lightweight 3m Ka-band mesh/25cm optical composite mirror teletenna subsystem.



Key Enabling Technologies:


• Beaconless acquisition through sensor fusion • RF/optical Software Defined Radio (SDR)

• Combined RF/optical Teletenna • Networked RF/optical link management

link management
Figure 3. iROC link management via Delay/Disruption/Disconnection Tolerant Networking (DTN).



cohesive

Figure 4. DTN unites the RF and optical links to form a cohesive system.



formulation

Figure 5. Formulation of potential iROC technology demonstrations to retire risk.


Integrated RF and Optical Communications (iROC) Information


Project Manager: Monica Hoffman, monica.i.hoffmann@nasa.gov
Co-Principal Investigator:
Dr. Daniel Raible, daniel.e.raible@nasa.gov
Co-Principal Investigator:
Dr. Robert Romanofsky, robert.r.romanofsky@nasa.gov

Integrated RF and Optical Communications (iROC) News