Photonic technologies are key enablers to satisfy the requirements of future Terabit/s communication satellites. The ability of Photonics to handle high data rates and frequencies is critical in this scenario, where current purely RF technologies are limited in SWaP and performance.
However, the use of photonics devices is currently restricted to a few demonstrations in non-critical equipment and with limited degree of integration. PhLEXSAT will increase the maturity level of several key photonic devices and modules to TRL5, designing, fabricating and testing:
Ultra-low jitter photonic clock for precise sampling
Photonic-assisted ADC and DAC for digital channelizers for Q/V-band operation
On-board digital processing firmware
Miniaturization will be achieved by fabricating and integrating a modulator photonic integrated circuit (PIC) and high-linear photodiode PIC with electronics in the photonic ADC and DAC components.
PhLEXSAT will integrate and demonstrate such building blocks in a test bed proving the suitability of the proposed architecture for Tbps-like, software defined HTS payloads with hundreds of channels with flexible bandwidth allocation up to 1GHz/channel, demonstrating a flexible photo-digital channelizer for high capacity reconfigurable payloads, enabling flexible frequency plans and channelization and dynamic coverage for Ku/Ka/Q/V operation.
PhLEXSAT consortium comprises the multidisciplinary skills needed to achieve its objectives and fully exploit its results, with partners representing the whole value chain, from space-grade hardware developers to communications satellite integrators and operators.
PhLEXSAT builds on the results of the previous FP7 project PHASER and is complementary to developments made by its partners in previous and existing ESA and EC Projects. PhLEXSAT success will contribute to enhance EU competitiveness and non-n-dependence by developing critical technologies for the EU satellite industry.