Lincoln Laboratory/NASA Terabyte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD)
Recently, Lincoln Laboratory has achieved a speed of 100Gbps between a CubeSat manufactured by Terran Orbital in low earth orbit carrying the TBIRD payload to a ground station on Table Mountain in California as part of NASA’s PathFinder Technology Demonstrator Program. The system can potentially deliver burst rates up to 200 gigabits per second, and downlink 10 terabytes per day to a ground station.
The Cubesat weighs roughly 25 lbs and is 2U size, and was launched aboard the Space X Transporter-5 mission in May of 2022 on a 6U CubeSat.
The ground station features a one-meter telescope and adaptive optics developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory.
A unique version of the Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) protocol was developed by Lincoln Laboratory to correct for errors in transmission. The protocol alerts the transmitter when frames are successfully received, so that dropped frames can be retransmitted.
TBIRD also lacks a gimble for pointing, instead using a unique method wherein information regarding the quality of the signal received from the ground station is used to point via reaction wheels.
Communications system achieves fastest laser link from space yet | MIT Lincoln Laboratory
NASA’s Terabyte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD) Program: Large-Volume Data Transfer from LEO
Pointing, Acquisition, and Tracking for Small Satellite Laser Communications (usu.edu)
Communications system achieves fastest laser link from space yet | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology