The FSS and MSS industries had served their discrete markets using unique capabilities, but advancing technologies and evolving market conditions have eroded much of the contrast between these two services. Terrestrial mobile telephony has expanded greatly around the world, reducing the MSS adv… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a subscription or…
Mobile Satellite Service Orbits
The MSS sector was created to address a specific market that was underserved by FSS: maritime voice and data, enabling emergency communications for ships at sea. Subsequent MSS systems tried to create ubiquitous coverage for land and sea customers, especially in areas that were underserved by terrestrial mobile telephony. For years, MSS systems were designed using satellites in GEO or LEO that were able to transmit low-data rate information to mobile receiving systems, such as satellite telephones or receiving stations on ships.
Fixed Satellite Service Orbits
GEO satellites can broadcast a signal to one-third of the Earth’s surface. They are ideal for FSS operators, who broadcast to antennas spread across several continents. Of the ## communications satellites active at the end of 2013, ## were located in GEO and were primarily used for FSS. The dominant players in satellite communications have been Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, and Telesat. These four companies have expanded their respective fleets through construction and launch as well as consolidation and acquisition of competitors’ satellites.
Telecommunications satellites include all spacecraft whose main mission is to collect, relay, or broadcast data, which may include voice, video, and other information. Depending on the type of system, communications satellites range from very small to very large satellites and can operate from all Earth orbits. The vast majority fall into one of two categories: geosynchronous orbiting (GEO) satellites and large constellations located in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)/Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).
2015 – Communications Satellites – Snapshot
Constellations of communications satellites have been in use since the 1990s, and several companies are either in the midst of deploying second-generation constellations or completely new ones. Globalstar, Iridium, and Orbcomm were the first three major companies to create this type of constellation.
2014 – Military Communications
Global, dedicated, and secure communications networks are vital to governments, militaries, and agencies around the world. Increased demand for capacity—particularly secure connectivity using non-commercial frequency bands—continued to drive deployment of dedicated military communications satellite systems. The U.S. military bought significant capacity from commercial operators such as Intelsat and SES in 2014. However, the way the military buys the bandwidth has been criticized by commercial satellite communications services as expensive and outdated.
2014 – Communications Satellites Overview
Communications satellites have been a crucial part of the global telecommunications infrastructure for decades. They bridge the oceans and connect continents with international telephone calls, bring live video footage of major events to television studios, and connect the major network hubs th… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a subscription or login…
2013 – Military Communications
Dedicated and secure communications links are vital to defense agencies around the world. Increasing demand for capacity—particularly secure connectivity using non-commercial frequency bands—has driven the deployment of dedicated military communications satellites. The U.S. military buys a significant portion of its capacity from commercial operators such as Intelsat and SES. However, the United States also relies on military-specific systems such as the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) program, supplying dedicated communications to U.S. and allied military forces around the globe.
2013 – Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) Space Activities
Another MSS industry leader is Iridium, which operates a LEO constellation of ## active satellites to provide global coverage. The Iridium constellation uses intersatellite links to route network traffic directly between spacecraft, avoiding the need for multiple hops between space and ground to relay signals around the world. Like Inmarsat, Iridium is significantly upgrading its network to reach new customer bases with new technology.
2013 – MSS Satellite Design Activities
The original and still-dominant MSS operator, Inmarsat, uses a fleet of nine GEO satellites to provide mobile services to land, maritime, and aviation customers. Since its founding in 1979, Inmarsat’s core business had always been voice and low-rate data transmissions to maritime customers.1&nb… This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a subscription or…