Laser Link Communications Technology and Kibo Cooperative Research Agreement by JAXA, Sony CSL and Sony

National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration 
Agency (hereafter known as JAXA, President: Naoki Okumura), Sony 
Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (hereafter known as Sony CSL, 
President and Chief Executive Officer: Hiroaki Kitano) and Sony 
Corporation (hereafter known as Sony: President and Chief Executive 
Officer: Kazuo Hirai) made a cooperative research agreement with 
respect to conducting the on-orbit demonstrations of laser 
communications system. This research to be executed in the Kibo 
module on the International Space Station (ISS) aims at establishing 
a communications system of mass data between spacecraft and that 
which connects Earth and Space.

Since 2016, JAXA's Space Exploration Innovation Hub and Sony have 
cooperatively conducted fundamental studies of the laser 
communications, using the precision oriented optical disc technology.
*1 Later in 2017, Sony CSL took over and has continued the 
fundamental research. Sony CSL and the Innovation Hub have 
established the laser communications technology and have developed 
the flight model of the optical communications module. Preparation 
is underway to demonstrate the motion of the laser link technology 
in Kibo and to verify orbital performance in late Japanese fiscal 
2018. The demonstrations will be carried out at one of the ports 
located at the Kibo extravehicular platform. There, the optical 
communications module will be attached to the IVA-replaceable Small 
Exposed Experiment Platform (i-SEEP), a hardware adapter developed 
by JAXA.*2

Images: the onboard experiment facility

*1 The studies are based on the agreement made in 2016: "Low-power 
Optical Modem for Long-distance communication", the projects 
selected as "Open Innovation Hub for Expanding Humanosphere and 
the Domain of Human Activity through Solar System Frontier 
Development". JAXA became one of the contractors to the Open 
Innovation Hub, the initiative by Japan Science and Technology Agency.

*2 The late Japanese fiscal 2018 orbital demonstrations are partially 
funded by a fee-based contract made between Human Spaceflight 
Technology Directorate, JAXA and Sony CSL. The contract results from 
the parties' effort initiated in late 2017 to facilitate Kibo. An 
experiment at the i-SEEP takes almost a year to prepare for, requiring 
less time.


National Research and Development Agency Japan Aerospace Exploration 
Agency (JAXA)Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.