Photonics is rapidly transforming into an enabling space technology with the potential to cross-fertilize multiple markets in the space domain.
Because of advantages associated with bandwidth, mass, power consumption, beam size, and immunity to electromagnetic interference, photonic subsystems are now being considered in navigation satellite systems, Earth observation satellites, low Earth orbit constellations, and within telecom satellite payloads.
The photonic components deployed in space require additional performance evaluation in comparison to standard terrestrial telecommunication counterparts. The key parameter to be defined is that the end-of-life performance when subjected to worst-case degradation factors.
Space-grade fiber optics: Optoelectronic components are key building blocks of satellite laser communication systems and intra-satellite links within telecom satellite payloads. Semiconductor lasers are typically used for the generation of light at the well-liked wavelength used for transmission, and therefore the optical pump light utilized in doped fibers or glasses for signal generation and amplification.
Space-qualified systems: Integration of fiber optics and lasers into subsystems are often validated by successfully passing space-level unit tests as per ESA or NASA standards, like the ECSS-E-10-03, which provides standard environmental and performance test requirements for space system and its constituents.