The Aerospace Research & Engineering Systems Institute, Inc. (ARES Institute) is a non-profit educational and scientific organization that promotes space exploration, advanced technology development and STEM education. The organization was founded in 2003 and is a registered tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (documentary letter of proof is available at http://aresinstitute.org/home/official-documents/. ARES Institute pursues its mission of research and education by establishing innovative hands-on programs involving students, educational institutions and the general public across the United States.

ARES Institute came to life in 2003 in the wake of the Columbia accident and recognition of the need to increase public support for space exploration as well as STEM education in America”s schools. One of the ways we do this is by creating unique projects utilizing nanosatellite technologies to design and build hardware and experiments that may actually fly in space.

With Calypso, we are proposing a new high throughput, high-reliability LED-based optical communication system. It is shown to be a viable alternative to laser-based methods, allowing transmitters to effectively scale to smaller spacecraft with fewer additional requirements. Calypso will be an on-orbit demonstration of this concept using a 1U cubesat and terrestrial ground stations.

The proposed technology answers the high cost, low reliability, and low scalability inherent in current systems, possibly allowing a transformational change in Cubesat and SmallSat communications. Through increasing the affordability of a high-throughput downlink the technology will open up new possibilities for NASA, OGAs, and commercial customers while offsetting demand for existing radio telecommunication infrastructure.