Optical Inter-Orbit Communication Engineering Test Satellite (OICETS), also known as “Kirari”, was a 2005 to 2009 JAXA test satellite. The satellite itself weighed 570 kg and circled at an altitude of 610 km. It was launched aboard a Dnepr rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2005. Optical equipment carried onboard is referred to as Laser Utilizing Communication Equipment (LUCE). The LUCE system operated in the 0.8 µm wavelength and achieved a downlink speed of 50 Mbps and an uplink of 2Mbps.
The OICETS’ primary purpose was to demonstrate communication between satellites over laser. On December 9th 2005 an optical link between OICETS and the ESA‘s Artemis satellite was established, the first time bidirectional optical inter-orbit communications were established. In March of 2006 a link between OICETS and an OGS in Japan was established, a first for a LEO satellite, and on June 7th 2006 a link between OICETS and the DLRs mobile ground station known as OGS-OP was established. Links to the NASA/JPL OGS in the U.S. and ESA OGS in Spain were established as well.
Lessons learned for future missions included data for the modeling of atmospheric propagation channels and the effect of site diversity, the effectiveness of various error-correcting codes and OGS locations, and contribution to ITU-R and CCSDS standards for space optical communications. Each OGS tested had a fairly low possibility of being able to connect, from roughly 49% to 88% per OGS ground station. However, through the use of site diversity, the probability of at least one of the OGS being reachable was 99%.