In this project two kinds of analysis have been performed. The first one consider only the impact of the application of photonic technology on the overall payload hardware costs, the second one (based on the previous one) consider the impacts of the application of photonic technologies on the Cost of Satellite In-Orbit Capacity delivery. Both analysis have been performed for all the considered missions and have been defined comparing a real payload features (payload mass, payload units mass, number of units, routing capability, units costs, payload costs, in-orbit costs) with the corresponding photonic version. The results shows that cost saving increases with payload capacity and flexibility. Final results for GEO broadband access large flexible mission, shows:
- A saving of 15% on total payload hardware cost
- A saving of more than 5% on the overall Cost of Satellite In-Orbit Capacity delivery (considering only 70Gbps class)
This delta would also increase when moving towards higher capacity and flexibility. It shall be noted that with a total capacity of 70 Gbps class, such mission is only an intermediated step towards new high capacity HTS/VHTS configurations, which target capacities up to 250Gbps/1Tbps respectively.
GEO Broadband access mission has been identified as the mission that can maximize the benefits derived from the migration to photonic tech.
In addition the introduction of flexibility in broadband missions is also eased thanks to photonic technologies:
- In the case of medium flexibility requirements, this can be achieved by sub-bands routing: optical switching is an enabling technology for this function which cannot be provided by conventional RF switching when the number of input/outputs is becoming high.
- In the case of high flexibility features leading to the implementation of an Intermediate frequency processing unit: the number of frequency conversions (RF to IF and IF to RF) is significantly increased and here also the capability to replace several RF converters by a single photonic converter is key feature because the number of conventional RF converters needed would jeopardize the payload budgets and accommodation.
At payload level these missions consist mainly in using photonics multi-LO frequency conversion and switching capability to provide efficient frequency plan management and routing/switching capability.
At the end, the emerging market of flexible HTS/VHTS will benefit from
all photonic features. In conclusions, photonic payloads can provide a full set of functions, with a minimum set of hardware.