-Reconfigurable optoelectronic oscillator based microwave photonic front ends for second generation photonic satellite payloads.-

The MIPHOSAT-2 project is concerned with the development of a tunable photonically assisted FGU for Q/V/W-band high throughput satellites. It is a critical step in the migration to W-band, given that space-qualified FGUs for W- band applications are not commercially available yet.


The W-band has great potential for satellite communications because it has a frequency allocation system bandwidth of 5-GHz for both sides transmitting and receiving which simplifies the system design in comparison with current Q/V-band implementations. Additionally, it reduces roughly by half the number of gateways required for high-throughput systems yielding to the overall system reduction cost. From the perspective of the microwave hardware, W-band microwave components are flown to space to serve scientific applications1.

A satellite can be envisioned as a repeater in the sky, where signals are transmitted from Earth station A (uplink) to Satellite and are re-transmitted back (downlink) to Earth station B and vice-versa. The downlink and uplink frequencies are always different to avoid interferences.

Figure 1: Satellite Communication link


Figure 2: Down-conversion Block Schematic Diagram

The focus of our work is inside the down-conversion (D/C) element that translates the downlink and uplink frequencies at the satellite payload. In the D/C block there is a microwave mixer with one port receiving the gateway (GW) frequency (RF input), while the other port is connected with an LO input which provides the translation frequency, the output of the microwave mixer (RF output) is connected with a demultiplexer where it separates the carrier frequency to different frequency channels.
1 “W-band: the next frontier for SATCOMS | ESA’s ARTES Programmes”, Artes.esa.int, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://artes.esa.int/news/w-band-next-frontier-satcoms. [Accessed: 30- Jun- 2020]

The remit of the project is to substitute the microwave oscillator with an oscillators that still outputs a microwave signal but using a photonic core for Q/V/W-bands integrated frequency payloads. The primary benefits are the supply of a product for an emerging frequency band that is not served today. The technical solution is based on photonic integration technology which can offer reduced mass, volume, and power consumption, coupled with intrinsic low phase noise capability at mm-wave frequencies. This is a unique opportunity for Cyprus to lead the state of the art in this area.


The project aims to deliver a state-of-the-art low phase noise photonically assisted frequency generation unit (FGU) for Q/V/W integrated satellite payloads, using photonic integration (PIC) technology from European foundries. 
The project MIPHOSAT-2 ESA Contract No. 4000127143/19/NL/MH “FGUs based on Tuneable Optical Frequency Comb Generators for Satellite Payloads” is financed by the European Space Agency under the CYPRUS PECS programme.