European “Photonic-VHTS” project launched

A European R&D project aims at developing space photonic components and sub-systems for the new telecom satellite generation

Alter Technology UK and  Alter Technology Spain are pleased to announce the launch of SIPhoDiAS (Space-grade Opto-electronic Interfaces for Photonic Digital and Analogue Very-high-throughput Satellite payloads), a 3-year EC-funded H2020-SPACE R&D project.


SIPhoDiAS is focusing on the development of space-grade opto-electronic (O/E) modules and sub-systems for next generation, very high throughput telecom satellites (VHTS). The O/E interfaces developed by the project are digital transceivers, analogue photodetectors and modulators which are deployed in the highest volumes and are used to interconnect equipment at the edge and within the satellite payload. SIPhoDiAS targets the development of this space photonic component generation by leveraging reliable manufacturing, assembly and packaging technologies that exist within Europe. The project drives its component design around the upgrade of opto-electronic performance and the shrinking of size and power consumption. The component functional performance will be demonstrated through their integration into digital processor and analogue photonic-RF conversion sub-systems. Reliability will be demonstrated through a rigorous validation test campaign.

SIPhoDiAS brings together a team of leading European innovators with complementary expertise in electronic and photonic integrated circuit design, optoelectronic assembly and packaging, system integration and space qualification testing. The consortium members are: ALBIS Optoelectronics (Switzerland), ALTER Technology (Spain), ALTER Technology (UK), AXENIC (UK), IHP Microelectronics (Germany), LEO Space Photonics R&D (Greece) and Thales Alenia Space (France).

Alter Technology UK will be responsible for the design and manufacture of Space grade optical transceivers operating across 4 channels transmit and 4 channels receive with a speed per channel of 56GB/s. Alter Technology Spain will perform the testing, characterisation and space level qualification of these optical transceiver modules.

Stephen Duffy, CEO of Alter Technology UK, said “ Digital Payloads for Telecom Satellites require fully flexible, transparent and re-configurable channel routing to meet the increasing demands of Telecom operators. Such high speed digital processing requires systems which can handle a few tens of TB/s through-put. High speed, space grade optical transceivers are the only option to transmit such large amounts of data within the satellite and are critical to achieve the SWAP-C requires of the Space market. Alter Technology are delighted to be working on this exciting project which will deliver a space grade optical transceiver that will be manufactured and sold by the Alter Group”


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