Space grade optical transceivers


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ALTER UK win a contract from ESA supported by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to develop space grade optical transceiver modules for intra-satellite communications.

The DISTINCT project will run for 36 months with a budget of £1.1M (€1.3M) for Alter UK as Prime Contractor with two not-for-profit RTO partners: Glasgow-based Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd, focussed on supporting the development of novel lasers and laser systems, and the Newport based Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (CSA Catapult), which supports the use and development of compound semiconductors in novel applications.

Commenting, Stephen Duffy, CEO of ALTER UK, said

In keeping with the increasing demands for data and bandwidth through terrestrial-based data data-centres, Very High Throughput Telecommunication Satellites are seeing similar demands with massive bandwidth and data transfer requirements on the scale of tens of Tb/sec within the Digital Process payloads. Traditional electronic interconnect technologies are no longer suitable at this bandwidth, and the only practical solution is optical transceivers. ALTER will leverage our world-class photonic and semiconductor design, manufacturing and test capability across our UK and European sites and best-in-class core optical transceiver technology developed through our new Photonic Design Centre in Glasgow. We are grateful for the support of UKSA, ESA, and our other partners in this exciting project.”

Dr. Una Marvet, Design Centre Director for ALTER, explained:

ALTER has already demonstrated optical transceiver technology for 28GB/s per channel solutions through a recently closed EU project called SIPHODIAS, and we are ideally placed to extend this technology to 56GB/s while meeting the exacting demands of the Space and Hi-Rel markets, In addition, working with our RTO partners Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult will allows us to address and fill key gaps in the UK supply chain.”