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Satnews Daily
July 22nd, 2019

Space-Rated Active Optical Cable Now Available From AirBorn

AirBorn has announced the company's SAOC (Space-rated Active Optical Cable) is now available for customers to specify and purchase.

AirBorn’s SAOC nexgen space interconnect is the first fully tested and qualified active optical cable available to the marketplace today. The culmination of five years of technological development, testing, and analysis resulted in a first-of-its-kind interconnect solution specific to the space market. SAOC affords engineers the benefits of fiber optical signal transmission with the ease of copper cable installation.

The SAOC takes a standard copper signal and translates it to a fiber optical signal within the connector body. The SAOC reduces engineering time by eliminating need for a specialized transceiver and time spent polishing and terminating fiber. The SAOC installs like a traditional copper cable but yields the same benefits of speed, distance, and EMI protection engineers have come to expect from fiber optic cabling. A single-connection interface accommodates both traditional copper cabling and SAOC, giving system designers flexibility. AirBorn's Space-rated Active Optical Cable offers Space and Aerospace engineers all of the benefits of traditional fiber optical cables with the ease of a traditional copper cable assembly.

AirBorn CEO Cindy Lewis said the SAOC technology further demonstrates AirBorn’s commitment to solving customers’ challenges through continuous innovation. This technology places AirBorn at the forefront of innovation for the ever-expanding space exploration market. Today, the SAOC technology is built into AirBorn’s MicroSI; the firm's rugged, high-speed Micro D interconnect platform. MicroSI’s space flight heritage made it a natural fit to house the SAOC technology. Additionally, a “ruggedized”, non-space-rated version is also available. The RAOC (Rugged Active Optical Cable) provides the durability essential for intense battlefield action or rugged industrial environments.

David Koenig, VPt for AirBorn’s Space Business Unit, noted that a prime contractor in the space industry knew the firm had active optical cable technology in house and asked if the company could design and qualify a ruggedized version for spaceflight. The AirBorn team accepted the challenge and through continuous collaboration, developed a technology that exceeded customer’s needs as a flight ready design was completed. SAOC is now launched into the market and stands ready to be specified into equipment destined for space.

Jason Smith, Senior Director of Technology Development, added that the need for faster data rates continues to grow, so AirBorn’s product development group anticipates this trend by working to bring faster speeds while insuring signal integrity.