KIRARI (OICETS) will enable optical inter-orbit communications tests between satellites that are tens of thousands of kilometers apart. An optical inter-orbit communications system will bring various advantages: more stable communications with less interference; lighter, more compact communications equipment; and higher data transmission rates. These tests are expected to lead to new technologies that will support the development and utilization of space, including global data reception from Earth Observation satellites and continuous communication links with a manned space station. OICETS was launched on August 24, 2005 by a Dnepr rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and named "KIRARI", in order to conduct demonstrations with ARTEMIS, the latest geostationary satellite belonging to the European Space Agency (ESA).
The distance between ARTEMIS, a stationary satellite, and KIRARI (OICETS), positioned in a low Earth orbit, is around 45,000 km at its maximum point. As a result, optical inter-orbit communications tests require elements such as high-gain optical antennas, a high-power semiconductor laser, and highly sensitive signal detectors. Using these devices, we will be able to test such operations as beam acquisition, to take in an incoming laser beam; beam tracking, to detect and control the angle of the incoming laser; and beam pointing, to transmit a laser beam accurately in the right direction, taking into consideration the relative motion between the two satellites.
Important issues to be tackled include the need for technologies to establish a stabilized, high-capacity attitude-control system, and to build ground stations to evaluate the performance of optical inter-orbit communications equipment.
|International Designation Code||2005-031A|
|Launch Date||06:10, August 24, 2005 (JST)|
|Launch Vehicle||Dnepr launch vehicle|
|Location||Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan|
|Shape||Dimensions : Box-shaped satellite with dimensions of 0.78 m x 1.1 m x 1.5 m
Total length of the Solar Array Paddles (after deployment) 9.36 m
|Weight||Approx. 570 kg|
|Altitude||Approx. 610 km|
|Inclination||Approx. 98 degrees|
|Period||Approx. 97 minutes|
|Attitude Control||Three-axis stabilization|