Rachel Elizabeth Morgan

Rachel Elizabeth Morgan
MIT AeroAstro Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Kerri Cahoy
Department: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Areas of Research: Aerospace
Years: 2016-2017

Nanosatellite Lasercom System

CubeSats (small satellites) have become increasingly prominent in recent years due to their relatively low cost and improving scientific capabilities prompting a need for high rate communication capabilities. Traditional radio frequency methods do not scale well to the size weight and power constrained CubeSat platform and require large ground station apertures. Therefore free space laser communications (lasercom) for small satellites is an area of active research due to the possibility of improving the data capabilities of small satellites significantly. This project involves designing and prototyping an optical tranceiver for the Free-space Lasercom and Radiation Experiment which will demonstrate a laser communications crosslink between two CubeSats.

I'm interested in the SuperUROP program because I think free-space optical communications has a lot of potential to improve spacecraft communications especially if it can be demonstrated on a small platform. I've been UROPing in Prof. Cahoy's lab since my freshman year and I'm excited to get more involved in the CubeSat projects she is working on.