High-Throughput Optical Interconnect Technology for Future On-Board Digital Processors
ALCATEL SPACE TOULOUSE (FRANCE)
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Digital processing is expected to take place in many satellite payload sub-systems, including advanced telecom repeaters and antenna beam-formers, next-generation radars and data handling units of remote sensors. The capabilities of integrated circuits and processors have been growing so rapidly over the last decades that the pressure is being now shifted to the interconnect function. Whereas the speed and pin count of ICs increases rapidly, the bandwidth and density of backplanes and connectors for space applications do not improve at the same pace. A breakthrough is needed in order to go on improving the overall system, and interconnects with commensurate performance have to be made available. Alcatel Space is investigating optical interconnects as an enabling technology that may offer the high-throughput data communication capabilities required for the future on-board processors and digital equipment. Optical interconnects may constitute a generic solution for supporting both intra- and inter-equipment communications, with almost unlimited bandwidth, distance-independent performance, unprecedented connector density and low-mass cabling. Suppression of EM crosstalk issues and impedance mismatches, full isolation between transmitting and receiver ends, simplification of routing might, in the end, shorten the design and integration phases.
- Unmanned Spacecraft