STEVENAGE – Airbus has launched the OPTIMA project, which will deliver a proof of concept demonstrator for the use of photonic payloads in telecommunications satellites.
The OPTIMA project, which is led by Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage and part of Horizon 2020 funded by the European Commission, comprises specialist partners from across Europe, including: DAS Photonics, CORDON Electronics, SODERN, IMEC and Polatis. Airbus Defence and Space will define, assemble and test a photonic payload demonstrator based on the components and equipment developed by the other members of the consortium.
Photonic payloads have the potential to revolutionise the design, capacity and capability of future generations of telecommunications satellites. The photonic payloads will use light to transfer the signals throughout the spacecraft, replacing current RF technologies, allowing for the development of more efficient and powerful satellites which are able to meet the increasing complexity and sophistication required by customers.
The use of optical fibre based equipment has already transformed Information Technology for ground applications, and its compact, lightweight and low power nature should enable reductions in mass on telecommunication satellites as they replace currently used technology.