New ARTES programme element dedicated to optical communications: ScyLight

Alphasat's Laser Communications Terminal in action. Credit ESAESA's Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate (TIA) has launched a new ARTES programme element dedicated to Optical Communication Technologies. Called ScyLight (Secure and Laser communication technology, pronounced "skylight"), it will support the development and deployment of innovative optical technologies for satellite communication and assist industry develop new market opportunities for optical communication technologies.

In pursuit of this high-level objective, market analyses and system studies will be performed to derive system/sub-system requirements for optical technologies in order to identify the critical elements for a related technology roadmap. Driven by ESA, and complemented by industrial initiated proposals/activities, market and end-user needs will be translated into equipment and sub-system requirements, aiming finally for new products.

The technical development roadmap and industry initiated activities, including in-orbit verification of newly developed equipment, will aim to demonstrate the maturity of optical communication technology to the end-user community and enable market entry for products based on the newly developed technologies.

“With successful deployment of intersatellite laser terminals for the European Data Relay Satellite system (EDRS), optical communications has truly come of age,” says ESA’s Harald Hauschildt, acting ScyLight Programme Manager and Head of the GovSatCom and Secure Communication Section. “Europe has a commanding lead in the development of optical communications, and this new dedicated ARTES element will ensure that this lead is maintained and fully capitalised upon by European and Canadian space industries.”

For more information about this ARTES element, contact: ScyLight@esa.int