Mitsubishi Electric made an announcement on June 20, 2023, confirming the successful demonstration of a high-capacity space optical communication light source module in outer space.
Using a light source module operating in the 1.5-micrometer band, a laser beam was emitted. This breakthrough is expected to enable long-distance optical communication in space, providing a capacity and speed ten times greater than that of radio wave communication. We plan to present proposals for large-scale space development projects in the future.
The light source module was installed on a microsatellite, which was deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station (ISS) to showcase laser light frequency control.
The microsatellite measures 10cm x 10cm x 34cm, taking the form of a rectangular parallelepiped. It boasts a significantly reduced cost (approximately 1/100th) and development period (around 1/3rd) compared to previous demonstrations conducted with conventional large satellites. These achievements are noteworthy.
The practical application of space optical communication will enable swift and accurate ground monitoring, leading to an anticipated expansion in the utilization of satellite imagery for disaster assessment and forest resource preservation.
Furthermore, the shorter wavelengths of laser beams, compared to radio waves, offer the advantage of reducing the size of ground-based receiving antennas.