The NICT has constructed a 50 kg micro-satellite known as the Space Optical Communications Research Advanced TEchnology Satellite (SOCRATES). The main objective of this micro-satellite is to demonstrate and validate the operation of SOTA. SOCRATES has conducted several experiments to verify PAT, propagation rates at various wavelengths, coding methods, and basic satellite QKD. The goal of SOCRATES is to connect to various international OGS and transmit data by means of QKD which can eventually foster more FSO applications in micro-satellites.
SOTA is controlled by the Tracking Telemetry and Command link from the RF ground station. A laser communication experiment is conducted between SOTA and the OGS located at the NICT which used SOCRATES to establish a 10 Mbit/s communication link to transmit the measurement of laser beam propagation in turbulent atmospheric conditions. This link succesfully transmitted data measured at wavelengths of 1.5 µm and 1.06 µm.
Paper: LEO-to-Ground Optical Communications using SOTA