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Kepler, TESAT, and Airbus Partner on Optical Network for ESA HydRON Program 

By Rachel Jewett | April 16, 2024

      Kepler Communications’ LEO network. Photo: Kepler Communications

      Kepler Communications is partnering with TESAT-Spacecom and Airbus Defence and Space to develop a high bandwidth optical communications network in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The partnership, announced April 10, plans to target opportunities like the European Space Agency’s (ESA) High Throughput Optical Network (HydRON) program. 

      Kepler is leading the effort with spacecraft constellation design, manufacturing, and operation, building on the technologies in its space segment and existing ground segment. TESAT is contributing expertise in space optical and network payload development, while Airbus will contribute operational and system engineering and access to optical ground stations. 

      The companies plan to put forward a proposal for ESA’s HydRON program. HydRON aims to demonstrate an optical multi-orbit transport network at terabit/sec capacity in space, extending terrestrial fiber-based networks seamlessly into space. 

      “Kepler’s mission to build the Internet for Space is well-positioned to support HydRON’s objective to demonstrate fiber in the sky,” said Kepler CEO Mina Mitry. “This collaboration enables the development of terabit-per-second data relay in space, with a state-of-the-art optical network architecture that gives European and Canadian forces secure access to spacecraft data with sub-second latency.”