Coherent to develop optical transceivers for space-based program

Coherent has won a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract to develop coherent optical transceiver technology for the agency’s Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node (Space-BACN) program. The aim of Space-BACN is to create low-cost, high-speed, reconfigurable, laser-based data links that will enable communications between various government and private-sector low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.

Various incompatible and often proprietary optical intersatellite links prevent LEO satellite arrays from readily sharing information, keeping proliferated space from reaching its full potential. Coherent is tasked with designing and fabricating coherent optical transceivers for a reconfigurable modem compatible with most existing single-wavelength communications protocols and able to readily adapt to work with new waveforms as they are introduced. The goal is to support multiple optical waveforms at total data rates of up to 100 Gbit/s on a single wavelength, while simultaneously meeting stringent size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) constraints.