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2 History of Satellite Communications

The first artificial satellite used solely to further advances in global communications was a
balloon named Echo 1. Echo 1 was the world's first artificial communications satellite capable of
relaying signals to other points on Earth. The first American satellite to relay communications
was Project SCORE in 1958, which used a tape recorder to store and forward voice messages. It
was used to send a Christmas greeting to the world from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
NASA launched the Echo satellite in 1960; the 100-foot (30 m) aluminised PET film balloon
served as a passive reflector for radio communications. Courier 1B, built by Philco, also
launched in 1960, was the world's first active repeater satellite. The first
communications satellite was Sputnik 1. Put into orbit by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, it
was equipped with an onboard radio-transmitter that worked on two frequencies: 20.005 and
40.002 MHz. Sputnik 1 was launched as a step in the exploration of space and rocket
development. While incredibly important it was not placed in orbit for the purpose of sending
data from one point on earth to another. And it was the first artificial satellite in the steps leading
to today's satellite communications. Telstar was the second active, direct relay communications
satellite. Belonging to AT&T as part of a multi-national agreement between AT&T, Bell
Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office, and the French National
PTT (Post Office) to develop satellite communications, it was launched by NASA from Cape
Canaveral on July 10, 1962, the first privately sponsored space launch. Relay 1 was launched on
December 13, 1962, and became the first satellite to broadcast across the Pacific on November
22, 1963.


Allocation of frequencies to satellite services is a complicated process which requires international coordination and
planning. This is done as per the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). To implement this frequency
planning, the world is divided into three regions:
Region1: Europe,Africa and Mongolia
Region 2: North and South America and Greenland
Region 3 : Asia(excluding region 1 areas),Australia and south-west Pacific.
Within these regions, the frequency bands are allocated to various satellite services. Some of them are listed below.
Fixed satellitete service: Provides Links for existing Telephone Networks Used for transmitting television signals
to cable companies.
Broadcasting Satelite services: Provides Direct Broadcast to homes. E.g . Live cricket matches etc.
Mobile Satellite services: This includes services for:
Land Mobile
Maritime Mobile
Aeronautical mobile
Navigational satellite services : Include Global Positioning systems.
Metrological satellite services: They are often used to perform search and rescue services. Below are the
frequencies allocated to these satellites:
Frequency Band (GHZ) Designations:
VHF: 0.1-0.3
UHF: 0.3-1.0
L-band: 1.0-2.0
S-band: 2.0-4.0
C-band: 4.0-8.0
X-band: 8.0-12.0
Ku-band: 12.0-18.0 (Ku is Under K Band)
Ka-band: 18.0-27.0 (Ka is Above K Band)
V-band: 40.0-75.0
W-band: 75-110
Mm-band: 110-300
m-band: 300-3000
Based on the satellite service, following are the frequencies allocated to the satellites:
Frequency Band (GHZ) Designations:
VHF: 0.1-0.3 ---Mobile & Navigational Satellite Services
L-band: 1.0-2.0 --- Mobile & Navigational Satellite Services
C-band: 4.0-8.0 --- Fixed Satellite Service
Ku-band: 12.0-18.0 --- Direct Broadcast Satellite Services

Satellite Systems:
The basic types of satellite systems include geostationary (GEO), Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium
Earth Orbit (MEO), and Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) satellites. There are also public and private
satellite systems such as Television Receive Only (TVRO), Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), Global
Positioning System (GPS), and multibeam satellite operations.
Geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth on repeatedly regular points over time. Each GEO satellite
is stationary over one spot above the equator and therefore does not need any tracking from
receiving and transmitting antennas on the Earth. GEO satellites enable the coverage of weather
events. They are especially useful for monitoring severe local storms and tropical cyclones. They are
best for television transmission and high-speed data transmission.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite systems fly very closely to the surface of the Earth, up to 1,500
kilometers in altitude. They deliver more significant voice quality over GEOs and transmit signals
with a small margin of delay. Some LEO systems are designed for satellite phones or global mobile
personal communications systems. These can carry voice traffic among other data formats.

Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite systems operate at about 10,000 kilometers above the Earth,
making it lower than GEO orbits but higher than LEO orbits. They have a larger capacity than LEOs.
This enables them more flexibility in satisfying shifting market demands for voice or data services.

Highly-elliptical orbit (HEO) satellite systems orbit the Earth in an elliptical path unlike the LEOs and
GEOs circular paths. Its elliptical orbit allows a wider view of the Earth and maximizes the amount of
time each satellite spends in viewing populated areas. It therefore requires fewer satellites than
LEOs while providing an excellent line of sight.
TVRO (Television Receive-Only) and DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite) are satellite TV systems.
TVRO relies on unencrypted feeds transmitted using open standards. They are also often referred to
as C-Band Satellite TV, Big Dish TV, or Big Ugly Dish (BUD).

DBS works on higher frequencies. It is capable of transmitting higher power signals. DBS was
primarily intended for home reception. This is why it is also known as Direct to Home satellite.

DBS satellites are owned by satellite TV providers. This means it is restricted to provide free

A global positioning satellite system receives and compares the signals from orbiting GPS satellites
to determine geographic location. Each satellite can transmit its exact location with a timed reference
signal which the GPS uses to determine the distance between satellites. The location can be marked
by calculating the point at which all distances cross. The information can be displayed in latitude or
longitude format, or as a position on a computer map.

The multibeam satellite operation uses Spatial Division Multiple Access (SDMA) technology. This
allows a single satellite to simultaneously communicate to 2 different satellites using several
directional antennas.

Applications Of Satellites:
Weather Forecasting
Radio and TV Broadcast
Military Satellites
Navigation Satellites
Global Telephone
Connecting Remote Area
Global Mobile Communication.
1) Weather Forecasting Certain satellites are specifically designed to monitor the climatic conditions of earth. They
continuously monitor the assigned areas of earth and predict the weather conditions of that region. This is done by
taking images of earth from the satellite. These images are transferred using assigned radio frequency to the earth
station. (Earth Station: it is a radio station located on the earth and used for relaying signals from satellites.) These
satellites are exceptionally useful in predicting disasters like hurricanes, and 4monitor the changes in the Earth's
vegetation, sea state, ocean color, and ice fields.
2) Radio and TV Broadcast
These dedicated satellites are responsible for making 100s of channels across the globe available for everyone. They
are also responsible for broadcasting live matches, news, world-wide radio services. These satellites require a 30-40
cm sized dish to make these channels available globally.
3) Military Satellites
These satellites are often used for gathering intelligence, as a communications satellite used for military purposes, or
as a military weapon. A satellite by itself is neither military nor civil. It is the kind of payload it carries that enables
one to arrive at a decision regarding its military or civilian character.
4) Navigation Satellites
The system allows for precise localization world-wide, and with some additional techniques, the precision is in the
range of some meters. Ships and aircraft rely on GPS as an addition to traditional navigation systems. Many vehicles
come with installed GPS receivers. This system is also used, e.g., for fleet management of trucks or for vehicle
localization in case of theft.
5) Global Telephone
One of the first applications of satellites for communication was the establishment of international telephone
backbones. Instead of using cables it was sometimes faster to launch a new satellite. But, fiber optic cables are still
replacing satellite communication across long distance as in fiber optic cable, light is used instead of radio
frequency, hence making the communication much faster (and of course, reducing the delay caused due to the
amount of distance a signal needs to travel before reaching the destination.).Using satellites, to typically reach a
distance approximately 10,000 kms away, the signal needs to travel almost 72,000 kms, that is, sending data from
ground to satellite and (mostly) from satellite to another location on earth. This causes substantial amount of delay
and this delay becomes more prominent for users during voice calls.
1.3.6) Connecting Remote Areas
Due to their geographical location many places all over the world do not have direct wired connection to the
telephone network or the internet (e.g., researchers on Antarctica) or because of the current state of the infrastructure
of a country. Here the satellite 5provides a complete coverage and (generally) there is one satellite always present
across a horizon.
7) Global Mobile Communication
The basic purpose of satellites for mobile communication is to extend the area of coverage. Cellular phone systems,
such as AMPS and GSM (and their successors) do not cover all parts of a country. Areas that are not covered usually
have low population where it is too expensive to install a base station. With the integration of satellite
communication, however, the mobile phone can switch to satellites offering world-wide connectivity to a customer.
Satellites cover a certain area on the earth. This area is termed as a footprint of that satellite. Within the footprint,
communication with that satellite is possible for mobile users. These users communicate using a Mobile-User-Link
(MUL). The base-stations communicate with satellites using a Gateway-Link (GWL). Sometimes it becomes
necessary for satellite to create a communication link between users belonging to two different footprints. Here the
satellites send signals to each other and this is done using Inter-Satellite-Link (ISL).
Orbital velocity

Artificial satellites are made to revolve in an orbit at a height of few hundred

kilometres. At this altitude, the friction due to air is negligible. The satellite is
carried by a rocket to the desired height and released horizontally with a high
velocity, so that it remains moving in a nearly circular orbit.

The horizontal velocity that has to be imparted to a satellite at the determined

height so that it makes a circular orbit around the planet is called orbital velocity.

Let us assume that a satellite of mass m moves around the Earth in a circular
orbit of radius r with uniform speed vo. Let the satellite be at a height h from the
surface of the Earth. Hence, r = R+h, where R is the radius of the Earth.

The centripetal force required to keep the satellite in circular orbit is F = mv 02/r =
mv02 / R+h
The gravitational force between the Earth and the satellite is
F = GMm / r2 = GMm/(R+h)2
For the stable orbital motion,
v0 = root(gR2/R+h)
v0 = root[GM/R+h]
where gR2=GM

T=Orbital period of a geostationary satellite=24 hours=8.64*10^4 seconds

M=Mass of the Earth 6*10^24kg

G=Gravitational constant=6.67*10^-11 Nm^2/kg^2

pi=3.14 or use calculator value

r= radius of the satellite's orbit,

If the satellite is at a height of few hundred kilometers (say 200 km), (R+h) could
be replaced by R.
orbital velocity, vo = rt(gR)
If the horizontal velocity (injection velocity) is not equal to the calculated value,
then the orbit of the satellite will not be circular. If the injection velocity is greater
than the calculated value but not greater than the escape speed (ve = 2 vo), the
satellite will move along an elliptical orbit. If the injection velocity exceeds the
escape speed, the satellite will not revolve around the Earth and will escape into
the space. If the injection velocity is less than the calculated value, the satellite will
fall back to the Earth.

Orbital period of a satellite

The orbital period is the time taken for a given object to make one complete orbit around another
object, and applies in astronomy to mostly either planets or asteroids orbiting the
Sun, moons orbiting planets, exoplanets orbiting other stars, or binary stars.Time
period, T = circumference of the orbit / orbital velocity
T = 2r / v0 = 2(R +h) / v0
where r is the radius of the orbit which is equal to (R+h).
v0 = root[GM/R+h] so
T = 2 (R+h) root[(R+h)/GM]
As GM = gR2, T = 2 root[(R+h)3/GM]
If the satellite orbits very close to the Earth, then h << R
T = 2 root[R3/GM]

Orbital inclination measures the tilt of an object's orbit around a celestial body. It is expressed as
the angle between a reference plane and the orbital plane or axis of direction of the orbiting object.

For a satellite orbiting the Earth directly above the equator, the plane of the satellite's orbit is the
same as the Earth's equatorial plane, and the satellite's orbital inclination is 0. The general case is
that the satellite's orbit is tilted; it spends half an orbit over the northern hemisphere and half over the
southern. If the orbit swung between 20 north latitude and 20 south latitude, then its orbital
inclination would be 20.
Azimuth and Elevation:

The earth station needs to know where the satellite is in the orbit. Then the earth station engineer needs to calculate
some angles to track the satellite correctly. These angles are called antenna look angle. The look angles for the
ground station antenna are the azimuth and elevation angles required at the antenna so that it points directly at the
satellite. With the geostationary orbit the situation is much simpler than any other orbit.

Azimuth angle denotes the horizontal angle measured at the earth station antenna to north pole.

The azimuth (az) angle is the compass bearing, relative to true (geographic)
north, of a point on the horizon directly beneath an observed object. The
horizon is defined as a huge, imaginary circle centered on the observer,
equidistant from the zenith (point straight overhead) and the nadir (point
exactly opposite the zenith). As seen from above the observer, compass
bearings are measured clockwise in degrees from north. Azimuth angles can
thus range from 0 degrees (north) through 90 (east), 180 (south), 270 (west),
and up to 360 (north again).

Equation for Azimuth (Az) determination

Here G = Difference between satellite orbital position and earth station antenna.
L = Latitude of your earth station antenna.

Elevation is such angle denotes the vertical angle measured at the earth station antenna end from ground to satellite

The elevation (el) angle, also called the altitude, of an observed object is
determined by first finding the compass bearing on the horizon relative to true
north, and then measuring the angle between that point and the object, from
the reference frame of the observer. Elevation angles for objects above the
horizon range from 0 (on the horizon) up to 90 degrees (at the zenith).
Sometimes the range of the elevation coordinate is extended downward from
the horizon to -90 degrees (the nadir). This is useful when the observer is
located at some distance above the surface, such as in an aircraft.

Equation for Elevation (El) determination

Here 0.1512 is constant
1) If the satellite orbital location is in east (E), then G = Antenna longitude - Satellite orbital position.
2) If the satellite orbital location is in West (W), then G = Satellite orbital position - Antenna longitude


Communication with a satellite is possible if the earth station is in the footprint of the satellite.
In other words, the earth-satellite link is established only when the earth station falls in the
beamwidth of the satellite antenna. This would be a function of time and the satellite is to be
tracked in case of a non-geostationary satellite. But for a geostationary satellite once the link is
established, the link is available throughout the lifetime of the satellite without any tracking. To
have the communication between the earth station-satellite-earth station, both the antennas of the
transmitting and receiving earth station are to be pointed towards the antenna of the spacecraft.
With the help of look angle determination, this can be established. To locate the earth station in
the footprint of the satellite, the information of slant range and coverage area/angle are required.
To determine this information, Fig. 2.8 is considered.
The earth coverage angle, 2max is the total angle subtended by the earth as seen from the
satellite. This angle is important in design of a global coverage antenna and depends on satellite
altitude. The communication coverage angle 2 is similarly defined, except that the minimum
elevation angle Emin of the earth station antenna must be taken into account. For an elevation
angle E of the earth station antenna, the communication coverage angle 2 is given as

where Re is the radius of the earth, assuming the earth to be spherical, H is the altitude of the
satellite, which is a function of time for non-geostationary satellites. For geostationary satellite,
H = 35,786 km. Thus,

and the earth coverage angle can be determined when E = 0o

For a geostationary satellite orbit where Re = 6378 km, the earth coverage angle is 2max =
17.4o , the central angle, , which is the angular radius of the satellite footprint,
for geostationary orbit. For global coverage, when 2max = 17.4o , = 81.3o , if a minimum
elevation angle of 5o is required for the above, these northern and southern latitudes of 76.3o will
not be covered by the footprint of the satellite. Besides the coverage angle, it is important to
know the slant range from the earth station to the satellite, because this range determines the
satellite roundtrip delay of the earth station. The slant range, d can be determined as

for a geostationary orbit and a minimum elevation angle of 5o , the maximum slant range is d =
41,127 km, yielding a satellite roundtrip delay of 2d/c = 0.274 s, where c = 2.997925 105 km/s
which is the speed of light.