European “Lasercom-on-chip” project launched

A European R&D project aiming to develop the next generation low-C-SWAP lasercom modems enabling >50 Gb/s satellite constellation interconnectivity

A European R&D project aiming to develop the next generation low-C-SWAP lasercom modems enabling >50 Gb/s satellite constellation interconnectivity


The European project ORIONAS (Lasercom-on-chip for next generation, high-speed satellite constellation interconnectivity) was launched on 1st November 2018 with the kick-off meeting held in Toulouse, France on 19th November 2018. The duration of the project is 3 years.

ORIONAS is focusing on the development of electronic-photonic integrated circuits (ePICs) for next generation, high speed inter-satellite laser communications.

ORIONAS aims to disrupt the way lasercom modems are designed, built and qualified in order to enable low C-SWAP satellite constellation lasercom links. ORIONAS will squeeze the current bulk lasercom modems into monolithic InP and BICMOS ePICs using cost-effective multi-project wafer run (MPW) fabrication within European foundries. ORIONAS will package the ePICs using hi-rel module assembly processes and will develop a 50 Gb/s laser-mini-modem suitable for a new-gen low c-swap lasercom terminals.

ORIONAS brings together leading European innovators from industry and academia for achieving its challenging technology objectives that require expertise spanning from III-V integration, silicon photonics, high speed electronic IC design, optoelectronic assembly/integration and photonic packaging. System applicability and specifications are driven by Thales Alenia Space - a leading European satellite manufacturer.


Project Team 
LEO Space Photonics R&DGreece
Leibniz-Institut für innovative MikroelektronikGermany
Thales Alenia SpaceFrance
Gooch & Housego (Torquay) LtdUK
Thales Alenia SpaceSwitzerland
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le TelecomunicazioniItaly
Alter TechnologyUK


H2020-SPACE Research Executive Agency Research & Innovation Project

ORIONAS Objectives

  • Fabrication of SiPhmodulator and receiver circuits monolithically integrated with SiGeBiCMOS electronics for direct and coherent detection modulation formats. Fabrication within European semiconductor foundry.
  • Assembly, integration and packaging of DPSK and coherent lasercom transceiver modules delivering up to 50 Gb/s aggregate bit rate.
  • >1W High-power Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (HP-SOA) integrated circuitsthrough monolithic integration in InP within a European III-V foundry. >10x times more powerful than current commercial SOAs.
  • Assembly, integration and packaging of HP-SOA demonstrating 2 orders of magnitudesmaller footprint than conventional fiber amplifiers.
  • Fabrication of credit card size, radiation resistant low noise optical pre-amplifier using low-cost COTSErbium doped fibers.
  • Bread-board assembly and demonstration of DPSK and coherent QPSK transmission using integrated devices through system trials conducted by Thales Alenia Space.