The Terabit Optical COMMunications (TOCOMM) System

Period of Performance: 12/15/2014 - 09/15/2015


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

R-DEX Systems
1225 Johnson Ferry Road Suite 240
Marietta, GA 30068
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Southern California
3720 S. Flower Street, 325
Department of Contracts
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: R-DEX Systems proposes to develop the Terabit Optical COMMunications (TOCOMM) System to radically improve airborne Free-Space Optical (FSO) communications. TOCOMM will combine proven spatial, spectral, and polarization multiplexing, advanced coding and channel equalization, advanced optics, advanced laser communications and state-of-the-art pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) technologies to leapfrog current airborne FSO communications capabilities. In the Phase I, the team will investigate through experimentation and simulation how to extend proven multi-Terabit per second (Tbit/s) FSO data links to high-speed air platforms communicating at long ranges. In the Phase II, the team will build on the initial Phase I design to construct a TOCOMM demonstration system and provide preferred protocols. The team will demonstrate TOCOMM performance for reliable, high-speed optical telemetry in a series of Phase II verification and validation experiments that include tests in a flight environment, leveraging existing test facilities and planned experiments to reduce cost. In the Phase III, R-DEX will work with its academic and industrial partners to further develop TOCOMM for both Government and commercial applications. BENEFIT: Tbit/s FSO data links are required to enable reliable communication and telemetry for both Test and Evaluation (T&E) and operations on high-speed (Mach 5+) air platforms. FSO links from mobile platforms can significantly enable Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, which require the dissemination of large volumes of sensor data, imagery and video to the network in real time. In addition, high-speed FSO can significantly enable T&E for high-speed vehicles. While in some cases there may be an opportunity to retrieve onboard data following a test, most often the test vehicle and the onboard systems are not retrievable, finding their way into the ocean or other terminal state. Current RF bandwidth capabilities severely limit data transmissions. Therefore, high-speed FSO data links between ground and flight vehicles can potentially be a game changer for the flight test community.