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Software Defined Space Optical Data Highway

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SODaH (Software Defined Space Optical Data Highway)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-10-31

The objectives of SODaH (Software Defined Space Optical Data Highway) are to mature the key photonic technologies in order to enable the implementation of an OISL (Optical Inter Satellites Links) based “Fiber like Network” in the sky for next generation satellites constellations. In such architectures, satellites are the nodes of a moving network interconnected by OISL, that have to address end users (citizens, corporate users, governmental, machines) with an ubiquitous and reliable coverage at high throughput (100 Mbps).
If the Laser Communication Terminal (LCT) are now a mature and flight proven technology for high end applications, their efficient use and integration in transparent, reconfigurable and smart miniaturized telecom payload is still a challenge. A Photonic Modulation,
Routing and Digitalization (P_MRD) Unit which performs the interface between the satellites OISLs (typically four per satellite) and the payload digital processor (connected to end users and gateway via RF antennas) is key to enable flexibility, efficient routing, redundancy, and advanced multiplexing of signals.
In the frame of SODaH, the photonic equipment of a miniaturized P_MRD unit (photonic sources using DWDM standard, MUX/DEMUX, an optical switch matrix, Low noise amplifier, and photonic receiver) will be developed in a design to cost and design to manufacture approach. This will assure their market relevance and readiness, by leveraging high performances terrestrial communication photonic components on one hand and radiation screened reliable automotive EEE components on the other hands.
Eventually demonstrators of key device will be manufactured and environmentally tested before to be assembled and tested together to demonstrate the added value and maturity of the P_MRD Unit. The demonstrator will be made available for showcase to the communication satellite community for paving the way for a short path from lab to market

At KO main preliminary objectives are summarized at 4 levels
Objective 1: Consolidate concepts of LEO broadband constellations using Optical Inter Satellite Links and RF Up/Down links enabling an optical space data highway with :
• Global coverage with a total capacity of 10 Tbps
• With a baseline of 300 LEO Satellites with OISL and RF beam steering antennas
• Internet access with 100 Mbps/s and latency below 0.03 sec for end users
• Seamless integration in 5G network
This first set of objective are to be confirmed by the initial analysis of existing constellations and possible steps with SODaH architecture and design
Objective 2: Demonstrate the feasibility of such a “Software Defined”, “Hybrid Photonic/Digital” payload :
• Able to handle & route signals in between end users, gateways or OISL through a DPU : 32 Gbps signals from RF user links, 18 Gbps from Gateway, 4x 30 Gbps multiplexed OISL
• Compatible with a low cost access to space with COST based design
• Compatible with production of hundreds of Flight Models per year with design to cost approach
• With a miniaturized SWaP (Size < 1 m3, Weight < 200 kg, and Power < 1 kW) compatible with small LEO satellites
Objective 3: Develop and qualify to TRL 5 the key technologies necessary for the Photonic, Modulation, Routing and Digitalization Unit PMR_D of such payloads
Objective 4: Demonstrate the performances and potential of this payload concept and equipment with a Photonic Modulation, Routing, and Digitalization Unit demonstrator
At CDR/MTR stage, detailed compliance matrix for breadboard and FM objectives is established and maintained in D1.2 compliance matrix document by MDA. Main technical non compliances or difficulties on design validated by the consortium in CDR are listed underneath
SODaH concept objective at constellation level are not changed with equipment detailed design

SODaD payload P_MRD main characteristics present remaining steps for achieving compliance on next performances/interfaces/environment:
• At switch level Power consumption is considered difficult to achieve or at least to confirm while COTS components have not yet been all tested
• At Modulator-Receiver level, mass could be reduced by accommodating high data-rate, power and TM/TC in a single Micro-D connector or employing AVIM optical connectors.
• At LNA level, there is a trade-off mass-optical performance.
• At MUX / DEMUX level, there is a trade-off mass-number of channels. Mass could be reduced by employing unterminated optical fibre pigtails.
• At P_MRD level, some requirement on environment are to be refined (on shock, sine vibration and non-operating temperatures)
As far as TRL5 demonstration for the P_MRD equipment, objective remains achievable, with review of switch action plan (demonstration is achieved at additional levels of sub-assemblies compares to initial plan focused on switch breadboard tests and controller boards tests – details in Develop and qualify to TRL 5 the key technologies necessary for the Photonic, Modulation, Routing and Digitalization Unit PMR_D of such payloads
Performances demonstration with P_MRD is still in line of project outcome

At project end after 24 months no further quantified conclusions can be given as manufacturing and low level tests have been ended without possibility of extension.
Due to end of project without extension, objectives have been partially reached.
however Thanks to dissemination actions, several members of the Consortium have already been involved in projects leveraging SODaH first outcomes:
• Hydron ESA Project F47197-G01000-6951,
• H2020 SPACE Project GA-101004253 PHLEXSAT (coordinated by DAS Photonics, participants MDA-UK, EUTELSAT, Axenic, ArgoTech, Fraunhofer HHI),
• Quantum Key Distribution Satellite (QKDSAT, DAS Photonics is subcontractor of QinetiQ)

Disseminations actions and efforts to implement the roadmaps of developed technologies and products beyond SODaH project have also leads to the tendering of the following funding requests:
• ESA Scylight Activities 5F.022 LEO/GEO - Optical Switch Matrix 25x25,
• OPTIMA/SODAH switch matrix demonstration within “Single String Photonic Payload (SSPP) and Multi-String Photonic Payload (MSPP)” ARTES C&G contract 1000122614/17/NL/FG,
• ESA SAGA contributive mission using QKD technologies led by HISPASAT, Public-Private Partnership to support the building the EU Quantum Communication Infrastructure, etc
Due to the closure of the project without extension the two last tasks have not been carried out. Indeed design, manufacturing or testing activities has not been fully achieved thus preventing the establishment of roadmap and business case (Task 6.3) and the showcase of hardware (Task 6.4).
view of SODaH website