HydRON is a proposed satellite communications program managed by the ESA with the purpose of enabling terabit/s inter-satellite laser communication links. The program proposes to show that optical communications technologies can operate as a flexible and scalable multi-network that is both safe and secured. HydRON has been dubbed “the fiber in the sky” to showcase Satcom’s ability to compete with high-speed terrestrial fiber networks. As of July 2019, HydRON is in Phase A of its study period and has received enough funding and manpower to begin research and development.
The chief demonstratives of HydRON are that all-optical satellite nodes in GEO and non-GEO can produce extremely high data throughput, that space laser networks can perform at levels equal to terrestrial fibers, that atmospheric conditions hindering optical communications can be mitigated by redistributing the data in an in-orbit network, that the space network architecture will be able to distribute user data similarly to a fiber architecture, and that the new concepts focused on space operations will benefit from artificial intelligence optimization processes. HydRON is closely partnered with ScyLight to implement the Optical Roadmap for European and Canadian optical and photonic capabilities in the global market.