Partners of SODaH H2020


World leader in communication satellite manufacturing, pioneer in photonic technology for communication satellites.

Communications and information

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide. MDA conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development.

MDA focuses in markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, and is active in two principal markets:

  • Communications: MDA offers space-based solutions for cost-efficient global delivery of direct-to-home television, satellite radio, broadband internet, and mobile communications.
  • Surveillance and Intelligence: MDA offers end-to-end solutions to monitor and manage changes and activities worldwide.

MDA’s centre of excellence

The established global customer base of MDA is served by around 2000 employees operating from 5 locations in the UK and Canada. MDA in Harwell is based on the UK’s Science & Technology Facilities Council Space Cluster Campus. The Harwell site has extensive heritage in space-based optical instruments, based on its origins as a spin-out from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories Space Optics group.

Since being acquired by MDA in 2010, Harwell has focused on Ka-band inter-satellite link terminals and earth observation. In light of the desire for ever more bandwidth for space-based communications, MDA is aware of the need to move to ever higher frequency communications. Now, the site has been selected to lead research and development of MDA’s capabilities in photonic technologies, with the aim of creating a photonic payload centre of excellence in the UK.

DAS photonics (Spain)

Pioneering company in the design, fabrication and IoD of SATCOM photonic payloads

DAS Photonics was created in 2005 as a spin-off of the Valencia Nanophotonics Technology Centre. It currently employs 80 people and is delivering its products worldwide. The company focuses on the development of innovative products based on proprietary photonics technology. These products are at the forefront of R&D in photonics for Space, Defence, and Aeronautics, making DAS the leading company in the application of microwave photonics in these sectors.

DAS’ activity drives its technology from lab prototypes to fully operative products. These efforts are characterized by two main directions:

  • System integration using our own Photonic Integrated Chips (PIC) as well as commercially available devices in the field of microwave photonics.
  • Design of PICs based on proprietary technology

Photonic technology for high-end markets

The products of DAS meet requirements that go beyond the technological limits of conventional electronic systems, and thus are oriented towards highly specialized applications in target markets where photonics technology offers solutions with great added value.

For the space market specifically, DAS develops solutions for both the ground segment and on-board systems. To bring the benefits of photonic technology to the space market, the company aims to achieve significant mass and size reductions as well as EM immunity. Currently, the applications developed by DAS are in the line of photonics links for digital and analogue signals, multi-frequency conversion and antenna beamforming. These applications are preliminary steps to reach a more challenging objective, which is to be able to provide a transparent photonic payload.


Huber+Suhner Polatis (UK)

World leader in optical switch matrices for terrestrial optical networks and data centers.

HUBER+SUHNER Polatis delivers the world’s lowest loss, all‐optical switching solutions for dynamic remote fiber‐layer provisioning, protection, monitoring, reconfiguration and testing, with over 1000 systems shipped worldwide. The company is part of the HUBER+SUHNER group, whose ultimate parent is HUBER+SUHNER AG, based in Zurich, Switzerland. H+S Polatis has R&D and some manufacturing facilities in Cambridge (UK) and further manufacturing facilities located near Krakow (Poland). Over 80% of H+S Polatis products are exported to customers outside the EU.

DirectLight® Technology

At the core of Polatis’ switching solutions is its unique DirectLight® technology, which combines piezoelectric actuation with integrated position sensors to provide non‐blocking connectivity between 2D arrays of collimated fibers directly in free space (thus avoiding the performance impairments associated with traditional MEMS devices). Significantly, switching occurs completely independent of the power level, color or direction of light on the path, enabling pre‐provisioning of dark fiber and avoiding concatenation of switching delays across mesh or multi‐stage switch networks.

Polatis’ dependable, field‐proven DirectLight® optical matrix switch technology currently scales from 4×4 to 384×384 fiber ports with typically 1dB optical loss, applying class‐leading performance to telecommunications, datacenter, government, test and video networks.

Sodern (France)

Coordinator of the consortium

Recognized space optronic equipment provider, leader in the star tracker market.

Sodern is a French medium size company (350 collaborators) which has been active in the space sector for over 40 years as an optronic instrument provider. The company relies on a wide skillset and can perform system analysis, optical design, opto-mechanical design, electronic design as well as execute the production of demonstrators and final flight models.

Sodern carries a product line of star trackers, which are integrated camera units relying upon star imaging to convey altitude control information to satellites. With 80 units shipped annually, Sodern is the number one supplier in the market and enjoys a customer base of over 22 different satellites primes for the high-end satellite market. Moreover, Sodern is now also addressing the “new space” market of small satellite with a new miniaturized and low-cost star tracker named Auriga. With this product Sodern is the star tracker supplier of the OneWeb constellation, which means it will assemble at least 1800 star trackers in the next two years.

A partnership for orbital switching

In order to address the emerging use of photonics in communication satellites for Optical Inter-Satellite Links (OISLs), feeder links or photonic payload, Sodern has signed a teaming agreement with HUBER+SUHNER Polatis. The aim of this partnership is to develop a space-graded version of Polatis’ current terrestrial optical switch technology named DirectLight®. In the frame of a H2020 project called Optima, Sodern and Polatis are validating the abilities of the opto-mechanical core of DirectLight® technology to face space environments.

The Online Scientist H2020 communication partner logo

The Online Scientist
(The Netherlands)

Communication partner and developer of websites, infographics and e-learning for researchers and H2020 programs.

Tailor-made science communication strategies.

The Online Scientist increases the impact of research projects with professional content, websites, e-learning and infographics. The Online Scientist is the one-stop-shop for science communication.

In this project, we provide communication tools that help bridge the gap between the technology and the consortium on one end, and stakeholders in industry and the European population on the other.