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Conference paper Open Access

Design and development of PhLEXSAT – a flexible photo-digital communication payload for very high throughput satellites

Chatterjee, Madhubrata; Palla, Chiara; Fiamanya, Edem; Legate, Steve; Castells Cervello, Antoni; Roux, Laurent; Beltran, Marta; Piqueras, Miguel Angel; Runge, Patrick; Cameron, Nigel; Zverina, Jakub

Cost of in-orbit capacity is an important element to take into account when ordering new satellites in order to remain competitive with terrestrial-based solutions. This can be achieved by minimizing the size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP), volume, reducing spacecraft AIT, etc. Properties of photonics components makes them a natural candidate while designing future generation Satcom payloads. Photonic components offer the advantage of minimizing the SWaP of satellite communication payload and are capable of offering a limitless bandwidth in THz range at around 1550 nm wavelength. Light weight and low volume photonic components offer almost lossless propagation in an optical fibre within a spacecraft and immunity to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). With the advancement of photonic technology, it is now possible to develop Tbps-like software defined photonic payload of high data rates and frequencies with almost lossless propagation in an optical fibre. However, at present in the satcom industry only a few demonstrations of photonic devices in non-critical equipment with limited degree of integration can be found. This paper presents a space-based photo-digital communication payload called PhLEXSAT and shows how the advantages offered by photonics can be utilized in increasing the capacity of Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) while reducing the cost at the same time. PhLEXSAT is a Ka/Q/V/W band communication system that will use novel optical devices for space-based systems, these are currently under design and development stage. The architecture incorporates advanced broadband photonic ADC and photonic DAC with digital processing firmware with a high degree of miniaturization and power-consumption efficiency. This design will be suitable for future Terabit per second satellites. PhLEXSAT project is focusing on the advancement of these key photonic technologies to develop a photo-digital channelizer for flexible HTS. PhLEXSAT project, funded under the European Union H2020 programme, is led by DAS Photonics in cooperation with MDA UK, Eutelsat, Axenic, HHI Fraunhofer and Argotech.

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