High-Data-Rate Radio-Frequency (RF) Crosslink Transceiver

Period of Performance: 08/09/2012 - 11/07/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Seakr Engineering, Incorporated
6221 South Racine Circle Array
Centennial, CO 80111
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: High-speed inter-satellite links (ISLs) are a key feature to improving satellite communications (SATCOM) bandwidth in support of global military operations. ISLs increase the number of paths in the network which tend to improve aggregate bandwidth, network survivability, and improve the global instantaneous transmission coverage. Along with expanding network ground coverage, ISLs provide saving in ground system operations costs by reducing the number of ground stations and relay points required to maintain a satellite constellation while still providing improved coverage. The SEAKR team will work toward implementing a space-qualified inter-satellite crosslink utilizing a novel hybrid optical/radio frequency (RF) direct modulation technique. This approach leverages bandwidth advantages of optical systems while presenting a modulated RF output consistent with spacecraft manufacturers design know how. BENEFIT: This activity provides spacecraft designers another option for satellite crosslink architecture and design. Satellite crosslink capability will facilitate a network approach for satellite mission operations. Regardless of satellite mission type, fully cross-linked satellite constellations enable a host of concept of operations (CONOPS) ranging from network centric operations to load balancing to simplification of ground station footprints. The primary benefit of this hybrid architecture is the achievement of high data rates via a low risk unit-level technology insertion versus new subsystem and spacecraft design modifications required by other design alternatives. Along with the low risk of the technology insertion approach, comes lower cost and shorter timelines to initial operations while preserving pre-planned product improvements (P3I) for even higher data rates.