Fundamental Challenges for Laser Satellite Communications and Quantum Key Distribution

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Laser satellite communications provides an attractive application for optical communications. It provides more bandwidth with improved security at potentially a lower cost due to reduced size weight and power (SWAP) and reduced license cost compared to radio frequencies (RF) communications. These advantages have been recognized for years and lead to the successful European data relay service (EDRS) [1]. This service provides the proof that optical communications can be used as a reliable means of satellite communications. In addition, the inherently save quantum key distribution (QKD) technology is demonstrated in a satellite to ground link in [2]...