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Airbus Validates Photonic Satellite Payload Tech to Readiness Level 6

By | December 13, 2019

Optima payload (photo by Airbus)

Airbus has validated and demonstrated photonic satellite payload technology to Technology Readiness Level 6, the last level before prototype in orbit, through the Optima Horizon 2020 project. This proof of concept demonstrator brings the company closer to its goal of using photonic payloads in telecommunications satellites. 

The Optima project, a consortium lead by Airbus and various space and terrestrial communications technology partners, aims to demonstrate the concept and benefits of a photonic payload for telecommunication satellites. Photonic payloads will use light to transfer the signals throughout the spacecraft, replacing current radio frequency (RF) technologies, which may allow for the development of more efficient and powerful satellites. Optima plans for future telecom satellite payloads which are expected to enter the terabit per second and multi-Gb/s “era” in the 2020 horizon.

“By bringing together industry partners, we have managed to develop, demonstrate, and raise the technology readiness level of photonics for applications in space. Using the low power equipments developed in Optima, enables us to achieve high capacity payloads and multi-Gb/s inter- satellite links with considerable savings in power, mass and footprint,” said Javad Anzalchi, Airbus project manager and technical lead.