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Satellite

While key services such as broadcasting and telecommunications continue to sustain the satellite industry, many networks are now hybrid systems with satellite as a part of the mix providing coverage beyond terrestrial limits. Applications including high definition direct-to-home broadcasting, video-on-demand, digital signage (i.e. delivery of video to audiences in retail, public transport, waiting areas and theatres), in-flight broadband service and 3D broadcast services offer new potential for satellite operators. These applications have implications for use of the radio spectrum by satellite networks. Today, successful exploitation of satellite systems demands a thorough understanding of both the technical and commercial constraints and opportunities that now exist. Drawing upon our work for organisations such as the European Space Agency, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, ICO Global Communications, Avanti Communications and DACOM Corporation, we help our clients maximise the benefits they can gain from the introduction and use of satellite systems.

Communications

Mobile Satellite Phone

The satellite communications sector continues to provide economical delivery of high-capacity trunking services mainly via geostationary orbit (GSO) satellites. C- and Ku- band transponder capacity is widely used for communications applications. In addition, a number of satellite constellations operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to provide voice and low-speed data communications services. There are plans to increase the capabilities of LEO satellite constellations. There are also plans to exploit the potential offered by the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) for delivering services to developing countries by leasing capacity to established telecom operators and service providers. The co-existence of GSO, LEO and MEO systems leads to a significant increase in the complexity of the interference environment associated with satellite operations. The Aegis Spectrum Engineering Toolkit is well able to handle this complexity.

Broadcasting & Multimedia

Technology development and creative strategies have been the key trends in recent years for the delivery of broadcasting and multimedia content. Direct-to-home (DTH) and high-definition video broadcasting are important markets for the satellite industry. Mobile TV also represents a growth opportunity for satellite operators. For example, joint ventures of established GSO operators aim to obtain pan-European licences for mobile service delivery, potentially using a complementary ground component. There are successful examples of satellite broadband operators in North America. Broadband satellites provide a viable alternative to those with no Internet access alternatives other than dial-up. Satellite operators aim to exploit Ka-band spectrum to satisfy broadband requirements. Two-way high-speed internet services via Ka-band transponders are already available in European markets. Our work in the industry has ranged widely, including: participation in the design of receiver technology, simulation of specific sharing issues between broadcast and other applications, harmonisation of spectrum use across Europe and market analysis of the commercial viability of new services such as satellite digital audio broadcast (S-DAB). We have also been closely involved in the convergence of mobile and broadcast services provided by satellite, as, for example, our examination of Internet provision by satellite for an Asian client.

Earth Observation & Space Science

Earth observation by satellite (including meteorological applications) is another growing area, as the potential environmental, scientific and social benefits come to fruition. This places two key demands on the radio spectrum. Firstly, in the case of microwave sensors (both passive and active) large bandwidths are required in order to achieve the necessary sensing resolution. Secondly, the frequency allocations commonly used for Earth observation applications tend to be shared with terrestrial services. In the case of the space-to-Earth data link any sharing problems can usually be overcome by selecting an appropriate frequency and the careful siting of the ground terminal. However, in the case of the space-borne sensor there are more complicated issues, including the scattering of terrestrial transmissions into the field-of-view of the sensor. We have experience in modelling and resolving a wide range of problems faced by the Earth observation community.

Navigation

Satellite systems such as GPS and GLONASS have long been used for global navigation and have faced a variety of spectrum sharing problems. A large satellite manufacturer has been awarded a contract to develop new generation GPS satellites to improve the system by providing increased security, accuracy and reliability for civilian and military users. The European satellite navigation system, Galileo, has been also under development. One other example of a satellite navigation system is the Chinese Beidou navigation network. A number of Beidou satellites already provide regional navigation services within China. Through our combined work in the avionics and satellite sectors we are able to help our clients understand the key issues affecting navigation satellites. For example, Aegis provided support on issues relating to spectrum allocations in the design of the first satellite launched under the Galileo program.

Satellite Control (TT&C)

Whatever the satellite system, there is always a need for Telemetry, Command and Ranging (TC&R) links (also referred to as Telemetry, Tracking and Command, TT&C). These links can either operate in allocations dedicated to Space Operations or in the service allocation itself.

For further information on how Aegis can help your organisation make the most of the opportunities that satellites can offer, contact us at enquiry-2015@aegis-systems.co.uk.

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See also:

Aeronautical & Navigation | Aegis Spectrum Engineering Toolkit | Broadcast | Co-ordination


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