Polar Orbiting INfrared Tracking Receiver (POINTR). POINTR is an in flight demonstration of an optical receiver pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) system. The optical receiver payload hosted on Audacy’s 3U cubesat would be pointed to the ground to acquire and track a beacon laser sent from a suitable ground facility, currently proposed as NASA JPL’s OCTL facility. This mission would demonstrate the operational and technical requirements related to two satellites establishing an optical communications link with each other. The requirements include mission planning, command and execution of a pointing maneuver, acquisition of an incoming optical signal and tracking of the optical signal. This mission can be broken into four main goals:
- Demonstrate a subset of technology for full bidirectional optical communications mission within the constraints placed by Audacy’s primary mission.
- Increase chance of bidirectional optical communications mission success.
- Develop experience within SSI designing and building space hardware.
- Contribute to the cubesat and satellite optical communications technical fields.