European Space Agency

Shining a light on Optical Communications


Optical space technologies have matured and are now ready to be applied in commercial satellite communication systems, bringing with them significant advantages such as much higher data rates, low probability of intercept, no restriction for frequency use, lower payload volume and mass and less power consumption requirements.

The European Space Agency has demonstrated that laser communications are feasible and ready for commercial systems and the European Data Relay System (EDRS) will use optical inter satellite links at a high data rate. There is a lot of recent investment from USA, Japan and China in the development of inter-satellite and feeder optical links and a lot of global interest in new areas such as quantum space communications. There is also commercial interest to develop an all-optical satellite constellation serving broadband needs of institutional and commercial users around the world.

ESA is hosting a workshop to ignite the discussion on system aspects of optical communications from space. The main objectives will be to explore operator needs for future satellites employing optical technology, explore the current state of the art of optical satellite systems, discuss new advances such as space quantum communications, and develop a roadmap for future development and investment in this important topic.

To promote lively discussions, the Workshop will consist mainly of invited panel sessions and interactions with the audience instead of formal technical presentations. However we could include a poster session dedicated to related technical topics, relevant projects, or products. If you are interested in presenting a poster, please contact:

Attendance will be free of charge but restricted to participants from ESA Member States.


Registration is now open!





Event Date

09 June 2015 to 10 June 2015
Published 24 February 2015
Last updated at 17 December 2015 - 10:43