The main technology drivers for space systems are size, weight, and reliability. The costs of space systems are proportional to their size and mass.

As mentioned in the previous chapters, a new approach to microphotonics is based on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) platform that utilizes novel concepts such as photonic-band-gap structures, thin-film smart materials, and microoptoelectromechanical systems (MOEMS). These technologies provide active and passive components that can form the basis of sophisticated microphotonic integrated circuits (micro-PICs) with higher functional densities than traditional integrated optics. Integration of a photonic system substantially minimizes the system mass and volume, reduces the number of external interconnects, and facilitates greater redundancy for higher system reliability, as well as providing robust optical alignment.