USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Intelligent Free Space Optical Communications Node

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Space Photonics, Inc.
700 Research Center Blvd. Fayetteville, AR -
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Intelligent Free Space Optical Communications Node
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: F29601-03-M-0112
Award Amount: $100,000.00


The Intelligent Free Space Optical Communications Node is an autonomous, free space optical, inter-satellite communications node that can intelligently locate, establish a link, and communicate with any other satellite in the network using adaptiveprotocol and gateway technologies. Innovations include Intelligent Adaptive Protocol Engines to accommodate multiple link and network protocols, Intelligent Adaptive Gateway Engines to translate between the inter-satellite and intra-satellite networkprotocols, Hit-less Switch technology to eliminate data loss during link handoff, and Autonomous Link Acquisition, Tracking and Anti-Jamming capabilities. The candidate protocols that will be evaluated for Phase II prototype development and demonstrationinclude IP over Optical, IP over Sonet, and IEEE 1393 for inter-satellite applications; and, IP over IEEE 1394 and IEEE 1393 for intra-satellite applications. All protocol, gateway and autonomous control functions are uplink programmable to accommodatefuture changes, additions and improvements.Leveraging our Principle Investigator's experience as one of the Nation's leading aerospace network inventors and developers (MIL-STD-1553, AS 1773, IEEE 1393), SPI is in a unique position to successfully develop the Free Space Optical Communications Node.Previous development efforts will also be leveraged including the first Rad-Tolerant gigabit IEEE 1393 network developed in 1999 at SPI. This innovation is key to the realization of both DoD's Transformational Communications Architecture and NASA's Space Internet Architecture visions. With numerous government and commercial organizations attempting to define the operational and interfacestandards for their next generation communication architectures two facts are clear. First, standards development is an on going process that is not going to end any time soon. Second, the adoption of a single network protocol by either the government orthe commercial sectors is never going to happen. Given this, aerospace developers must implement inter-satellite and intra-satellite networks today that will inter-operate with these multiple, constantly evolving protocols for the next 10 to 20 years. Thisinnovation is one of the key enabling technologies.Potential Commercial Applications: This innovation is key to the implementation and operation of ?the internet in space? and multiple satellite communications networks like Teledesic.

Principal Investigator:

Fred J. Orlando
Chief Technology Officer

Business Contact:

Charles H. Chalfant
Small Business Information at Submission:

700 Research Center Blvd. Fayetteville, AR 72701

EIN/Tax ID: 710817649
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No