Artemis, the telecommunications revolution

2001/07/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Some data:

Over time, the Artemis satellite of the European Space Agency will be put into orbit on July 12. The launch will take place from Kouru and this satellite is expected to open a new stage of telecommunications research. Artemis is a geostable satellite that aims to carry out studies with new telecommunications technologies. Like the rest of geostable satellites, they will be placed on the equator at 36,000 kilometers of height.

Artemis will be the first satellite to use the laser beam to send data. It will receive laser signals from low orbit satellites and send them to a terrestrial station in real time. For this purpose they have carried out a Terrestrial Optical Station in Tenerife. This station will be used for the commissioning of the laser terminal of the Artemis satellite, as well as for the periodic control of the satellite.


In order to perform laser communications between earth and space, the sky must be completely clean, fog free, and the path to the atmosphere must be as short as possible. The Teide observatory has both characteristics, since in addition to being at 2,400 meters high, it is very close to the equator.

Artemis will also conduct communication between low orbit satellites. These satellites are less than 1,500 kilometers high. For testing of laser communications between satellites, the new ESA satellite will initially carry out communications with the French satellite Spot 4. Spot 4 is a satellite launched into space in 1998 to observe the Earth and located 800 kilometers high.

Laser communications between satellites, as well as laser communications between satellites and Earth are completely new, as they have so far been done with radio signals. The advantage of using the laser is its greater bandwidth, greater security and smaller size and terminal consumption. Therefore, Artemis will be used by the satellites of space agencies and surely by the International Space Station.

  • Pitcher Ariane 5 will put in orbit.
  • The Artemis satellite has a weight of 3,100 kilos.
  • The satellite was made in Noordwijk, in Herberes, in the space technology centre of the ESA.
  • In the following years he will work with the Japanese satellite OICETS.
  • When sending the data, the transmission speed of the laser terminal will be 50Mbps per second.

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