Military Embedded Systems

Smiths Interconnect Optical Transceivers reach new heights

Press Release

July 07, 2022

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 –40 ºC to 85 ºC
  • Sensitivity: –9 dBm for BER 10–12
  • Low power consumption: 115 mW/lane (<10 pJ per bit)

About Smiths Interconnect

Smiths Interconnect is a leading provider of technically differentiated electronic components, subsystems, microwave and radio frequency products that connect, protect and control critical applications in the commercial aviation, defense, space, medical, rail, semiconductor test, wireless telecommunications, and industrial market segments. Smiths Interconnect is synonymous with exceptional performance whenever a technologically advanced, high-quality solution is required to ensure reliability and safety.

Smiths Interconnect is part of Smiths Group. For over 170 years, Smiths Group has been pioneering progress by improving the world through smarter engineering. Smiths serves millions of people every year (to help create a safer, more efficient and better connected world) across four major global markets; Energy, General Industry, Security & Defence and Aerospace. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Smiths employs c.14,600 colleagues in over 50 countries.

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