Whenever equipment is intended for use in hostile environmental conditions or when severe reliability demands constrain its functional specifications, very specific research is required to assess the successful operation of individual devices and subsystems. This statement is certainly valid as far as both space and nuclear applications are concerned. Indeed, space and nuclear environments show several similar characteristics, among which the presence of ionizing and particle radiation as well as extreme pressure or temperature conditions. Even if the basic environmental conditions such as dose rates, total doses, particle types, pressure and temperature ranges may differ, the fundamental effects which influence or degrade the specifications of devices often remain the same. Hence, we are convinced that space and nuclear communities have to learn from each other's complementary experience. This perspective serves as a frame for the results reviewed in this paper, as they are issued from research and development efforts of (European) nuclear actors on one hand and space industry on the other. After an introductory comparison of nuclear and space radiation environments, three complementary contributions are highlighted. The first two focus on radiation testing and include radiation effects on two modem individual photonic devices as well as standard irradiation test procedure definitions for fiber-optic systems. Then we turn to a major part of this paper which describes advanced photonic systems especially designed for space applications.