Over the last four years MIT Lincoln Laboratory has been engaged in research and development of coherent optical space communication systems using GaAlAs semiconductor lasers.1 The program began with identification of critical technology and system issues facing the development of such a system. The more significant achievements of the program to date will be summarized. Based on our results and results of other research groups thus far, we believe the major uncertainties in the realization of a practical system have been substantially reduced, and an efficient and robust system can be built with commercially available components. Specific technology and system items to be addressed are outlined below.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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