HydRON is ESA’s vision for an end-to-end optical high throughput space network.
The HydRON vision aims to bring optical communication technologies to maturity for a wide range of satcom services. The vision encompasses the provision of high-capacity data transport and flexible network services by connecting space and ground assets via an optical network. This not only requires the maturation of already existing technologies that enable optical intersatellite links in space, but also needs to overcome the challenges associated with optical connections through the atmosphere and from orbit to ground. It also requires a new generation of ground stations which are able to receive and send optical links to orbit. HydRON's key objective is to create a system that allows a seamless inter-operability between elements of the optical space network and terrestrial systems.
HydRON has evolved this vision through its now completed Phase A studies. As part of this first stage, high level commercial use cases for a fully optical satcom network were identified in order to understand technical system requirements. This went hand in hand with a first system design of an end-to-end optical satcom system.
A key element of this stage was the identification and engagement with potential stakeholders – industrial involvement at the earliest stage is essential to refine the broad vision of optical satcom to tangible, technically and commercially feasible mission scenarios.
In 2022, HydRONs Demonstrator mission is up for funding by the ESA Member States at the occasion of the 2022 ESA Council Ministerial. The Demonstrator System has a technical baseline demonstrated below:
- Maturing European Technologies
- An open international collaboration opportunity
- An orbital testing platform for your ideas
- Currently in Phase A/B1
- Elaborating a first Demonstrator Mission Concept
HydRON is part of ESA’s ARTES 4.0 Strategic Programme Line on “Optical Communication – ScyLight.” The programme aims to foster “Industrial Excellence and Market Lead in Optical Communication Technology by 2025.”
News and Events
ESA-backed TNO consortium establishes first robust optical datalink
A consortium of European industry, led by Dutch firm TNO and backed by the European Space Agency (ESA), has successfully established the world’s first robust optical datalink using real-world conditions in field tests held in the Netherlands.
HydRON User Workshop - New date
ESA organised the first Workshop in February 2022 to connect with potential users of the HydRON Demonstration System (HydRON-DS). A second Workshop will take place in Decembe 2022.
5th Annual ScyLight Conference points to a bright future for optical and quantum communication
More than 150 attendees including national delegations, industrial representatives of ESA member states, ESA staff members and academic researchers met in Bonn this week for the 5th ScyLight Workshop. This was the first time the event…
ScyLight Industry Day - France
The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” comes with an increasing pace of development and digitalisation, driven - and enabled by vast amounts of data. Already today, the limitations of conventional networks impact the deployment and end user service…
ESA collaborates with Oxford University to deliver online Satellite Optical Communications course
A team of experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Oxford University are working to deliver a 3 half day course in May, giving an introduction to satellite optical communications.
ESA awards two contracts for laser-communication projects related to HydRON
Two consortia led by Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space respectively, recently kicked-off two projects related to HydRON, both which are being funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The parallel contracts will allow the primes…
ESA Signs Agreement to Support In-Orbit Demonstration of Spectrum Monitoring Services
The European Space Agency (ESA), RHEA System Luxembourg, LuxSpace Sarl, Aurora Insight and the European Business Reliance Centre (EBRC) are joining forces for the development and deployment of a European Spectrum Monitoring System leveraging…
GREECONNECT Virtual Day - GREEk CONNECtivity small-satellites
The GREECONNECT Virtual Day is an online event bringing together industrial and research actors with an interest in small satellites to receive information on current and future opportunities though the Greek National Space Project. The event is…
ScyLight Virtual Industry Day - United Kingdom
The UK ScyLight Industry Day is an online event bringing together companies and research organisations alike with an interest in optical communication and photonics to discuss current opportunities for UK industry.
4th ScyLight Workshop 2021 Online Event
On the 8th and 9th June 2021, the 4th annual ScyLight workshop took place online. This year the annual event took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the event was attended by 284 attendees, totalling 382 registrations to the…
ARTES partnership drives industry forward with next-generation ground segment solution
Project INDIGO, a flagship ESA Public Private Partnership (PPP), is wrapping up on a high note after five successful years and an impressive track record of commercial success. It’s the end of a project that has seen telecom services reach new…
Quantum communication in space moves ahead
Keeping information secure in today’s interconnected world is becoming ever more important, so ESA is supporting efforts to ensure that future communications are kept confidential.