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MOSAIC: Miniature Optical Steered Antenna for Intersatellite Communication

Kerri Cahoy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

ESI18 Kerri Cahoy Quad Chart

MOSAIC will develop a CubeSat-compatible module capable of receiving and transmitting laser beams in any direction over a hemisphere using a combination of liquid lens technology and fixed lenses, and without using a gimbal or mechanical actuation. This project seeks an alternative to mechanically-based steering systems by using new beam steering technologies, such as liquid lenses, that have not yet been applied to satellites. Laser beams are passed through a series of liquid lenses that are offset from the optical axis, which allows the liquid lens to deflect the beam a few degrees by adjusting its focal length (by applying a voltage to the lens). After the liquid lens relay a fisheye fixed lens then amplifies the angular deflection.This architecture can address over 1.5 pi steradians, nearly an entire hemisphere, and two pairs of transmitters on opposite sides of a spacecraft would allow the spacecraft to address the entire 4 pi steradian sphere, without the use of mechanical actuation or requiring the spacecraft to body-point.

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