Free-space communications at optical wavelengths offers the potential for orders-of-magnitude improvement in data rates over conventional radio wavelengths, and this will be needed to meet the demand of future space-to-ground applications. Supporting this new paradigm necessitates a global network of optical ground stations. This paper describes the architecture and commissioning of the Western Australian Optical Ground Station, to be installed on the roof of the physics building at the University of Western Australia. This ground station will incorporate amplitude- and phase-stabilisation technology, previously demonstrated over horizontal free-space links, into the ground station's optical telescope. Trialling this advanced amplitude- and phase-stabilisation technology, the ground station will overcome turbulence-induced noise to establish stable, coherent free-space links between ground-to-air and ground-to-space. These links will enable significant advances in high-speed and quantum-secured communications; positioning, navigation, and timing; and fundamental physics.
|Published - 25 Jan 2022