Outdoor Team Tech: Proxima Centauri Interstellar Flyby Scientific Data Downlink Design


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July 1, 2023

Outdoor Team Tech: Proxima Centauri Interstellar Flyby Scientific Data Downlink Design

Description of Flight Mission Standards for Propulsion Propulsion from the Launch Site. The goal is to safely recover scientific data collected at the point of origin. – astro-ph.IM

Editor’s Note: One of the main interests in Proxima Centauri system At least one of the three planets found (besides proximity to Earth) (Proxima Centauri b) resides in that star’s habitable zone. How can astronomers best use such a flight mission and its ability to observe and return data?


The design of a downlink communication system for returning scientific data from an interstellar flyby probe is reviewed in this helpful white paper.

The probe is assumed to be ballistic, and the data is downloaded in the time after the encounter with the target star and exoplanet(s). Performance indicators of interest to scientific investigators include the total start-to-completion data latency and the total amount of data received reliably.

Considerations include the interplay between probe speed and mass, and downstream transmission time. Optical communication is assumed using pulse-position modulation (PPM) with error-correction coding (ECC). A very large receiving collecting area at or near the surface is composed of individual inhomogeneity-coupled diffraction-limited apertures.

Other important considerations in design, including transmission and reception, detector accuracy, and beam size and reception field are evaluated. Numerical simulations The mission to Proxima Centauri (the closest star to our Sun) was first launched with a boost from Earth’s atmosphere.

David Messerschmidt, Philip Lubin, Ian Morrison

Subjects: Astrophysics Instrumentation and Methods (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2306.13550 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2306.13550v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Delivery history
From: David Meserschmidt
[v1] Friday, June 23, 2023 3:21:57 PM UTC (690 KB)

SpaceRef Co-Founder, Explorers Club Fellow, Ex-NASA, Outdoor Groups, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Laps Hill.


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