Perseus - Miniaturized Laser-Comm Transmitters for Small-Satellite Platforms

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Optical space communication has seen immense development over last couple decades due to its capacity, low cost compared to the RF counterparts and availability. The main objective was to design and develop a laser transmitter platform for small satellite communications. The activity was a part of the ARTES program to aid customers in the optical space communication market to deliver a high power and SWaP solution.

The range of the laser transmitters available are a 300 mW optical output power at 1550 nm capable of 1 GHz OOK NRZ modulation controlled by the external electronic system and a 2 W (demonstrated 3 W) optical output power transmitter capable of 2 GHz OOK NRZ modulation with a fully integrated digital control allowing for external command control, telemetry monitoring etc. The low power transmitter is to be sent on a CubeSAT on a Low Earth Orbit and the high power variant is TRL 4/5.


To keep the SWaP solution, a conscious design choice has to be made on the modulation scheme (direct, external) which can impact the power consumption and quality of the optical communication signal. Careful thermal design is also required to distribute the heat across the metalwork so that it can be efficiently dissipated into the carrier. The metalwork itself provides a challenge due to a limited space and weight limitations.


The presented laser transmitters are fully customizable SWaP solutions. The high power version with a 2 W(demonstrated 3W) optical output power and < 25 W electrical power consumption only weighs below 600 g making it extremely versatile and light CubeSAT compatible laser. Due to its customizability, the modulation speed is only limited by the available modulation technology and limitations for space and power consumption.


Developed laser transmitters feature a modular design – the 0.3 W variant is a part of the 2 W(demonstrated 3W) variant capable of 1 and 2 GHz OOK/NRZ modulation with a 10 dB extinction ratio.

The emission wavelength at 1550 nm can be designed according to the customer specifications.

The laser transmitter can include an electronic control layer allowing for control, monitoring and internal alerts.

The mechanical design is a bespoke design allowing to fit into a CubeSAT carrier at the same time being extremely stiff and robust.

System Architecture

The laser transmitters consist of a laser seed that is modulated (directly or externally) and amplified by one or two optical amplification stages. All of the optoelectronic components are controlled and monitored by an electronic layer.


The project involves a technology phase for the laser transmitter development at 1550 nm. The main milestones are:

  1. MS1: System Requirements Review

  2. MS2: Development of and delivery of PERSEUS-LP-LE-C-LR (low data rate, low power 0.3 W laser engine)

  3. MS3: Development and delivery of PERSEUS-LP-DI-C-LR (low data rate, low power 0.3 W digitally integrated laser transmitter)

  4. MS4: Development and delivery of PERSEUS-HP-DI-C-HR (high data rate, high power 2 W(demonstrated 3W) digitally integrated laser transmitter)

Current status


All milestones were achieved. The design process, assembly and integration are presented in relevant technical notes.

Prime Contractor