Reuniwatt is already the winner of a 1st prize of the Space Tour 2021 launched by the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery. We are proud to be on board a second winning project!

Free-space optical communications still face several technical challenges before their full potential can be reached. The technology of free-space optical communications is based on the transport of data by light (laser) and capable of multiplying the rate of data exchanges, enabling 10 to 100 times more data to be transmitted from Space to the ground than would be possible using radio frequency systems. To enable future high-speed bidirectional optical links for satellite telecommunications missions in geostationary orbit, Project CO-OP will be carried out by a coalition of 17 SMEs and major groups to help with the realization of the key components for this technology in France. The goal: To prepare the French industrial sector for wireless laser communications.

Technologies and skills for future FSO capabilities

The 3-year project is financed by France Relance, the national recovery plan with a focus on the Space sector. CNES,  the French National Centre for Space Studies, was in charge of the calls for collaborative projects to structure the sector, and to co-finance industrial projects in order to irrigate the entire Space ecosystem. Project CO-OP is aimed at accelerating the development towards very high speed bidirectional optical links between the ground and satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO satellites).

The consortium partners include Airbus Defence & Space – lead manager, Alpao, BERTIN Technologies, Cailabs, CEDRAT Technologies, CILAS, COMAT, IXBLUE, Lumibird, MecanoID, Miratlas, NOKIA, OGS technologies, Reuniwatt, SAFRAN Data Systems, Thales Alenia Space and Thales SESO.

Reuniwatt will bring in their expertise in cloud cover observation and forecasting to help specify the forecasting systems for future OGS. Predicting the quality of the atmospheric propagation channel is crucial for the management of a wireless optical communication network, since a thick cloud can completely block the signal. Reuniwatt’s cloud forecasting models are relying on input data from ground-based cameras and satellite observations. As a part of this project, these models will be evaluated and improved with regards to the needs of FSO systems. One  key challenge will be to integrate and take full advantage of data from 3rd generation weather satellites, allowing to achieve the next level of spatial and temporal resolution for cloud observation.

Weather as a key component

The number of demonstrations of wireless laser communications in the aerospace and Space sectors over the past years have contributed significantly to the overall advancement of the technology. However, the challenge still remains as to how this technology will be exploited within a larger commercial context in order to support viable communication services business models. FSO experts are aware that cloud forecasting technology is essential to establishing stable and high-quality transmission systems. Reuniwatt and Airbus have recently published a white paper discussing the opportunities for the widespread use, standardisation, and optimisation of Free-space Optical Communications (FSO) systems, with a focus on using precision weather forecasting to ensure the best possible transmission of the signal through the atmosphere. We also have a webinar on demand on the topic available: Click to watch.

Reuniwatt believes in innovation as a catalyst for our technological advances. The French government presented France Relance in September 2020 and presented the detailed follow-up in the form of a national Recovery and Resilience Plan in April 2021. From the beginning on, France Relance aimed to support companies active in the aereospace sector. Innovation is essential for our company, but also for the future of aerospace business. Innovation will allow a sustainable development of the French aereospace industry while helping consolidate the national economy. Congrats to all the other winners!

If you want to get in touch with us regarding project CO-OP, contact us! 

Image credits: ESA [1]

About Reuniwatt (
Reuniwatt is a major player of the solar radiation and cloud cover assessment and forecasting. Based on solid Research and Development works, the company offers reliable products and services intended for professionals of various fields, making the best out of two key facets of the meteorology: atmospheric physics and data sciences. A particular focus has been placed on solar energy forecasting, while developing cutting edge solutions to improve the short-term prediction of the solar resource.
The company has won many grants, including H2020’s SME Phase 1 programme, which makes Reuniwatt a European Champion with regard to innovation. Reuniwatt has also been selected among the national fast-growing companies to join the prestigious French Tech 120 programme in 2020, and remains a part of the selection for 2021, and the French Space Tour 2021.