A wide-field telescope with a focal plane array (FPA) operates from a higher orbit, receiving and relaying signals to create an on-demand optical multiple-access (OMA) communications network.

The advent of satellite communications opened up numerous possibilities and simplified global communication. The ability to transmit and receive signals to and from satellites in real-time is invaluable, particularly in remote or hard-to-reach locations. However, latency, noise interference, and the need for efficient tracking are challenges associated with satellite communication systems. Traditional satellite communication systems primarily focus on geostationary Earth-orbiting (GEO) satellites, with limited network connectivity options for lower orbit satellites, such as those in low and medium Earth orbit (LEO and MEO). Currently, there is limited capacity to relay asynchronous low-rate signals to other network nodes because of the varying orbit speed of these satellites. The current systems show restrictions in terms of communication channels, inconsistency in burst transmissions, and limited data relay links.

Technology Description

The technology consists of a wide-field telescope and a focal plane array (FPA) situated on a satellite in a geostationary Earth orbit (GEO). The telescope and FPA aim toward Earth and its lower orbit satellites in low and medium Earth orbits. The FPA receives asynchronous low-rate signals from these sources, with the signal rate being partly determined by the FPA frame rate. The technology also incorporates a controller that keeps track of the sourced signals as they orbit Earth. What sets apart the system is its function as a node within an on-demand, optical multiple-access (OMA) communications network. The node integrates one or more transmitters that relay the received information to other nodes by free-space optical signals through wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM). The signals that it transfers can include low-rate telemetry communications, burst transmissions, and continuous data relay links.


  • Enhances capability of relaying asynchronous low-rate signals to other OMA network nodes
  • Allows continuous tracking of source signals orbiting Earth
  • Handles not only telemetry communications but also burst transmissions and continuous data relay links
  • Positions itself as a node in an on-demand, OMA communications network, addressing shortcomings of existing systems
  • Allows for efficient wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) of free-space optical signals

Potential Use Cases

  • Communications in remote or hard-to-reach locations
  • Operations requiring constant monitoring, like military surveillance or weather updates
  • Improved global telecommunication networks, benefiting industries such as broadcasting, navigation, and internet services
  • Global satellite networks, satellite technology companies, and space exploration
  • Future megaconstellations of many low-orbiting satellites