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Product Code: ILSC2007_901

Laser Operations at the JPL/NASA OCTL Facility
Fred Battle, JPL; Pasadena CA USA
Keith Wilson, JPL; Pasadena CA USA
Presented at ILSC 2007

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has built and is now operating a state-of-the-art R&D optical communications telescope laboratory (OCTL). Designed to perform laser beam propagation and free space optical communications experiments, the OCTL will explore technologies and strategies to meet NASA's future needs for high bandwidth communications from Earth-orbiting and deep space probes. Laser beam propagation between ground and space is regulated by several governmental agencies. This is particularly applicable to high-brightness, Q-switched laser beams that will be used to uplink commands to the spacecraft, and in some cases serve as an acquisition, pointing and tracking beacon for the downlink. To ensure safe laser operation and beam propagation from OCTL, JPL has identified and implemented a four-tier safety system. This paper will present the successful operational accomplishments of this system that have lead to a 20/7 operational scenario with a 360 degree full sky view in commercial airspace that is one of the most congested in Southern California.

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