FALCON: Formation Attitude Laser Communication Orbital Navigator

Overview

FALCON is the University at Buffalo Nanosatellite Laboratory’s fourth mission.  It will be two Nanosatellites totaling 6U funded by the Air Force. Its goal is to provide relative attitude and orbit information between spacecraft using beam pointing and synchronization to maintain the link between the laser communication devices.  The secondary objective involves determining the absolute position of the two spacecraft using only relative line of sight information.

Why Laser Communication?

The mission aims to create stereoscopic imaging as one could use our concept for flying two or more satellites in formation with no star tracker using ground references (rather than stars) and the laser communication system to determine the attitude and orbit, greatly reducing the cost of such projects.