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A DOMINO optical telecom link (Demonstrator for Optical teleMetry at hIgh data rate iN earth Orbit) between the Japanese satellite SOCRATES and the MeO ground station (figure) was first created at the Côte d'Azur Observatory on the Calern site in June 2015.

Under the leadership of CNES, OCA-Geoazur and ONERA, together with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space have started in 2014 the DOMINO project that aims at establishing some optical links between the SOTA payload and the OCA-Geoazur’s optical station MeO.

The mains objectives of DOMINO are the study of the laser beam propagation through the atmosphere and also the design of all sub-systems constituting the dedicated parts of such an Optical ground station devoted to high bit rate transmissions. DOMINO contributes to the study of future operational international high data rate direct to earth telemetry, and space telecommunications, both in the mass-market, eye-safer and performing 1.55 micron wavelength range for uplink and downlink.

After a first NICT internal campaign done from November 2014 to April 2015, NICT has initiated from June 2015 a second campaign with several international partners. OCA-Geoazur, through the DOMINO project, was one of these partners…

See : Samain E. et al, “First Free Space Optical Communication in Europe Between SOTA and MeO Optical Ground Station”, ICSOS, New Orleans, LA, USA, October 26-28, 2015. DOI: 10.1109/ICSOS.2015.7425085


Optical telescope of the MeO station
Above the transmission telescope. In the foreground the table for receiving optical telecom signals.

SOTA instrument developed by the NICT
On the left the optical terminal. On the right the associated electronic module.