Infrastructure

Communications Satellites


Satellite Design

This article is for subscribers. Please sign up for a subscription or login below. Username Password Remember Me     Forgot Password

Read More


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.

Read More


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.

Read More


Orbits

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).

Read More


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.

Read More


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.

Read More


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.

Read More


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.

Read More