in Aerospace / Space

Scottish design companies help CAP develop satellite comms system

Posted 7 September 2023

Two Scottish product design companies, Wideblue and A2E, are helping the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) based in Glasgow with an ambitious project to develop an optical communications system with very low size, weight and power requirements for use with high-altitude pseudo-satellites (HAPS).

Image courtesy A2E / Wideblue
HAPS are lightweight, unmanned aerial vehicles offering prolonged flight at altitudes into the stratosphere. They can be deployed quickly and provide persistent coverage over large areas. Applications include disaster relief, remote sensing/monitoring and providing telecommunication services to remote areas. Optical communications are key to enabling communications between the HAPS and other platforms/ground stations as the radio frequency spectrum is becoming too crowded and bandwidth requirements are becoming ever higher.
The project uses the latest breakthroughs in micro-LED light sources and single photon detectors pioneered by the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Photonics over the past two decades.
Mark Sansom, group engineering director at A2E/Wideblue said: "Engineers from both organisations are collaborating on the design, with Wideblue providing expertise in optical and mechanical design whilst A2E are contributing with their experience in electronic, FPGA and software design."
Wideblue and A2E are part of the Pivot International group of companies ( The project is co-funded by Innovate UK also has the following partners: TAO Tech UK Ltd and Kubos Semiconductor.

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