Modern satellites must be able to transfer large amounts of data at very high speeds. Free-space optical communication using laser sources offers the fastest possible bandwidth for these systems, making it an attractive solution for the future. The laser transmitter must be compact, lightweight, power efficient, reliable, and hardened against the harsh environment of space. Researchers at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Freedom Photonics, LLC will develop a high-efficiency photonic integrated circuit (PIC) platform based on the highly reliable InGaAsP material system. The tapered active amplifier design under development is expected to enable Watt-class laser transmitter PICs capable of >100 Gbps data rates.