AirBorn’s Space-rated Active Optical Cable gives engineers and space application designers all the benefits of fiber optic cabling with the ease of use of a traditional copper cable assembly. Image courtesy of Airborn/PRNewswire.

GEORGETOWN, Texas—AirBorn’s new SAOC® Space-rated Active Optical Cable has been named a 2019 Military & Aerospace Technology Innovators Award winner.

The SAOC space-rated cable assembly, which takes a standard copper signal and translates it to a fiber optic signal within the connector body, was named a Platinum winner, the highest of three tiers, by an independent panel of industry judges. The Platinum tier “recognizes a superb innovation, characterized by a groundbreaking approach to meeting a need,” as defined by Military & Aerospace Technology.

Introduced in mid-2019, the SAOC allows space application design engineers the ease of installation of a copper cable with the high speeds and EMI resistance of fiber optics. It is said to reduce engineering time by eliminating need for a specialized transceiver and time spent polishing and terminating fiber.

AirBorn’s SAOC next-generation space interconnect is reported to be 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, according to AirBorn.

“This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of AirBorn’s new product development team, led by our director of new product development,” said AirBorn’s vice president for the Space Business Unit, David Koenig, in a company release. “We all worked closely with our customer to develop, qualify, and ultimately launch this technology, which offers significant advantages for our customer and the satellite system in which it’s used.”

The technology behind the SAOC has already been adapted into a ruggedized version for military and commercial aerospace applications. According to AirBorn, the Rugged AOC, or RAOC®, allows OEMs to develop high-speed applications without needing to design in ruggedized fiber optical transceivers. It  enables engineers to combine cable assemblies into a single fiber optic cable, cutting weight and installation time. The technology can be added to any existing AirBorn connector offering, the company said.

AirBorn ( designs and manufactures standard and custom electronic connectors and electrical components for OEMs in aerospace, industrial, defense, military, and medical markets.

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