Free Space Optics (FSO) can transmit at data rates significantly higher than those at radio frequencies (RF). This is also taken advantage of in satellite communications.
However, the maturity of FSO technologies is considerable lower than that of RF transmission. For deep space missions the transmission of payload data is of central importance.
With increasing quality and capability of sensor technologies the payload data rate rises significantly, obviously calling for FSO links.
A first measure to mitigate the risks of pure FSO data transmission, is to employ both, FSO and RF technologies, in a hybrid solution. Several configurations of hybrid
solutions are discussed in literature, e.g. using hybrid solutions for the TT&C system, or others.
The present study considers use of the hybrid solution for the payload data transmitter of deep space missions. Data rate definitely is one of the figures of merit for such application. A thorough study however has to investigate and explain in
detail, what configurations, schemes, improvements etc. are conceivable, and has to discuss the system and situation on a whole, considering advantages and drawbacks also on system level.
The authors of the proposal in the following present their approach, based on the excellent expertise of the bidding team, finally yielding in a roadmap for an innovative, reliable payload data transmission of excellent performance.