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New laser comms system for Bartolomeo
OSIRIS on Bartolomeo. © Airbus

New laser comms system for Bartolomeo

A new space-to-ground laser communication system to be installed on the Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station will provide direct to earth (DTE) technology with a data rate of 10 Gbps.

The first high-capacity space-to-ground laser communication system is to be installed on the Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a collaboration between Airbus Defence and Space, the Institute of Communications and Navigation of DLR (German Aerospace Centre) and Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG.

DLR and Tesat-Spacecom have entered into a long-term cooperation agreement regarding research, development and industrialisation of systems for optical space-to-ground links. Testat-Spacecom is an Airbus subsidiary specialising in telecommunications via satellite.

The new system, called OSIRIS, will provide direct to earth (DTE) technology with a data rate of 10 Gbps over a range of about 1,500km.

Small and lightweight, OSIRIS will directly link to several ground stations providing unparalleled data downlink capacity to Bartolomeo and its experimental payloads. The goal is to make OSIRIS an operational system embedded in the ISS infrastructure. This new European capability aims to enhance the utilisation opportunities on the European Columbus module and make Bartolomeo the go-to platform for data-intensive payloads on the ISS.

Airbus is developing the Bartolomeo external payload platform on the ISS under a commercial partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus. The platform hardware is in development at Airbus' Bremen site and is currently undergoing a design review with ESA and NASA.

Bartolomeo will be operated by Airbus and attached to the outside of the Columbus European module ready for commercial operations from 2019. Bartolomeo will be able to host a wide range of different payloads e.g. for Earth Observation or in-orbit validation and demonstration.

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