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Optical Transceivers reach new heights

Smiths Interconnect
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Smiths Interconnect proudly announces another significant milestone in its spaceflight heritage.

The company’s SpaceABLE® 10G 4TRX optical transceivers with patent-pending radiation-resistant design are now in service on Thales Alenia Space’s newest geostationary Ka-band satellite, SES-17.

The very high throughput SES-17 satellite is now fully operational over the Americas, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean, after months of in-orbit raising and successful in-orbit testing. Launched in October 2021 from Arianespace’s Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, SES-17 is ready to provide unparalleled connectivity services to customers across aeronautical, maritime, enterprise, and government markets whether on land, at sea, or in the skies. It will provide next-generation aviation Wi-Fi onboard commercial aircraft across the Americas and the Caribbean and expand broadband coverage to more remote areas in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Canada. This technology will be life-changing for people in these regions. SES-17 carries hundreds of Smiths Interconnect’s SpaceABLE® radiation-resistant optical transceivers that are the backbone of the payload data path and are used to transport signals to and from each of the nearly 200 user beams on the antennas.

Arlen Martin, Product Line Director, Fiber Optics at Smiths Interconnect said: “We are proud to be able to claim flight heritage for our SpaceABLE® 10G 4TRX modules at a TRL-9 level. This is the highest Technology Readiness Level rating defined by NASA as “Actual system flight proven through successful mission operations” and a major milestone for us as we deliver our proven SpaceABLE® optical transceivers at 10 Gbps and 25 Gbps for additional satellite opportunities”, he explained. “This achievement is a tribute to the expertise and hard work of the Smiths Interconnect’s team”, Martin concluded.

The SpaceABLE® Series allows the interconnection and routing of an overall throughput of more than 15 Terabit/s and permits the use of the full Ka beam antennas bandwidth while being considerably lighter and more scalable than copper interconnects. The SpaceABLE® transceivers are engineered to withstand radiation doses >100 krad (Si). The modules operate at up to 28 Gbps per channel over an operating temperature range of –40 ºC to 85 ºC at ultra-low bit error rates, with an expected life of over 20 years. The SpaceABLE® Series offers the following benefits to the SES-17 payload:

Density: less than 6mm high (module and interposer)

Ruggedness: withstand radiation doses >100 krad (Si) and qualified per MIL-STD 883 shock and vibration

Duration: expected life up to 20 years

Performance: up to 10.3125 Gbps/channel over a recommended operating temperature range of –40ºC to 85ºC

Sensitivity: –9 dBm for BER 10–12

Low power consumption: 115 mW/lane (<10 pJ per bit)

SpaceAble Optical Transciever
SpaceAble Optical Transciever

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