European Space Agency

RAD-EDFA-HP High Power Radiation-Hard Optical Fibre Amplifiers for Satellite Communications


The purpose of this programme is to develop two C-band high power (30dBm and 35dBm) optical fibre amplifier engineering models for space laser communication.  These amplifiers are ideal for use in the application of LEO to ground, intra and inter satellite links (LEO to GEO and GEO to GEO).  To achieve this goal, the following objectives have been completed: 

  • Survey of end-user requirements
  • Optical engine design and component selection
  • Optical engine component procurement and testing

Module design, assembly, integration and test


The challenges within this programme include:

  • Achieving target optical specifications with low electrical power consumption
  • System design and component procurement for operation within the radiation environment of space.

Achieving a design with a small footprint and low mass.


The optical fibre amplifier modules developed within this programme offer the following benefits: 

  • Small footprint, low mass solution to high power optical amplification for space laser communication.
  • Cost effective solution for high volume requirements.
  • Mechanical design concept of “photonic slices” is employed allowing customization of specifications and functions
  • Broadband performance for multi-channel operation.

Designed to ensure survival and operation of the module under harsh space environmental and launch conditions.


The modules developed feature:

  • A compact, small footprint mechanical housing designed to withstand launch and environmental conditions.
  • An optical design that has been optimised to improve optical efficiency and minimise power consumption.

Components have been tested and selected to minimise the effect of radiation induced attenuation.

System Architecture

The modules developed include the following:

  • Broadband performance for multi-channel operation
  • Pump laser redundancy for improved reliability
  • Input, output and SBS power monitoring
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Optical mini-AVIM input and sleeved fibre high power output

D-Sub electrical interfaces


The project plan covers the following phases and milestones

  • Preliminary requirements review (PRR)
  • Optical engine design and component selection, design review (DR)
  • Optical engine component procurement and testing, optical engine test review (OTR)
  • Module design review (MDR)

Assembly integration and test, hardware acceptance review (HAR).

Current status

The project has successfully completed the Hardware Acceptance Review (HAR) in September 2018 after the assembly, integration and test of two optical fibre amplifier modules developed within the programme was completed.  Images of the two modules are shown below.

Status date

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 09:38