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Airbus Defence and Space joins European “Beacon” project on lighter and more capable photonic telecoms satellite payloads

Airbus Defence and Space has joined the European project “Beacon” that focuses on the development of key photonic technologies for future high-capacity and energy-efficient telecommunication satellites.

As part of the “Beacon” project Airbus DS is studying how terrestrial photonics and fibre-optic technologies could be used on future spacecraft to save mass and also increase capacity on high throughput satellites. Another goal is to enable future telecoms satellites to be more energy efficient compared with conventional telecoms satellite repeater systems deployed today.

Javad Anzalchi, Space Systems Payload Product Development Manager said: “Airbus Defence and Space has always been a leading innovator within satellite telecommunications and “Beacon” will ensure we remain at the forefront of future technology development. Using light to move signals around on telecoms satellites will be the next revolution and mean we can offer more efficient and more powerful satellites to our customers.”

About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.

“Beacon” (Scalable & Low-Power Microwave Photonics for Flexible, Terabit Telecom Payloads & High-speed Coherent Inter-satellite Links) is a 3-year collaborative R&D project co-funded by the European Union. The total budget of the project is EUR 2.63 million, from which EUR 1.99 million is funded by the EU Research Executive Agency. The project consortium consists of Constelex Technology Enablers (Coordinator, Greece), Airbus Defence and Space (UK), U2t Photonics (UK), Inphotech (Poland), Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics (IHP, Germany) and Instituto de Telecomunicações (Portugal). The project runs from February 2014 to January 2017.

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