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The main objective of the project is to design and fabricate an EQM-level payload in-orbit demonstrator of Photonic Technology for On-board Reference and LO distribution by optical links. Full EQM-level functional and environmental qualification has been performed Two optical links operating at 10 MHz and 10 GHz, including 10 meters fibre and a power splitter, have been integrated in the HISPASAT Amazonas 5 satellite, successfully launched and tested in orbit in 2018.
The main key issues of the activity are the use of non-qualified components and a new technology to perform the LO distribution as well as a first in-orbit demonstration of this technology.
New concepts of satellite payloads require a high number of feeds, or even phased array systems, for multi-beam applications with an associated high quantity of converters. For these applications the frequency distribution unit networks could become a critical issue. A high number of feeds and converters make analogue optical links a promising signal distribution candidate compared to traditional RF systems in terms of properties such as:
The payload for the IoD, called AOLTB, accommodates two complete optical RF links.
The AOLTB provides information regarding power and phase deviation of the optical RF links, levels of power consumption and radiation performances during the mission.
The IOD consist on a piggyback demonstrator of Photonic Technology for On-board Reference, LO and RF distribution by using the low and high frequency links described above. The IOD will have the following characteristics:
In order to evaluate the behaviour of the optical links in real space environment, the system encompasses the following additional parts:
The Project has been successfully concluded, and the piggyback demonstrator is operating properly in HISPASAT AMAZONAS 5, flying since 11/09/2017. The experience gained and flight heritage is being leveraged in current payload developments using photonics technology.
After completing the components evaluation campaign, the EQM has been developed and functionally and environmentally tested. The AOLTB was integrated in the payload completing the integration tests and was successfully launched as piggyback payload of HISPASAT AMAZONAS 5. The 1 year in orbit data has been analysed and the AOLTB is continued to be monitored in orbit.