Note:  Present address: Lockheed Martin Telecommunications, 12355 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191‐3458, USA. Tel.: +1 703 390 3106.
Abstract: Inter‐Satellite Links (ISL’s) will become important elements for the architecture of the future in‐orbit communications infrastructure. Various application scenarios for optical ISL’s will be discussed and the associated system/terminal requirements will be outlined. The basic design considerations influencing an optical ISL design will be recalled and some promising concepts for high data rate miniature terminals will be identified. The design of a Miniature Optical Terminal for data rates of > 1 Gbps will be presented and possible in‐orbit demonstration scenarios will be discussed.