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Satellite Communication Lecture Notes |Electronics and Communications Lecture Notes

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Monday, 11 June 2012

Satellite Communication Lecture Notes


SATELLITE COMMUNICATION
A satellite is an object that revolves around another object. For example, earth is a satellite of The
Sun, and moon is a satellite of earth etc. All planets in the solar system can be considered as
satellites of sun. An object in the solar system can have more than one satellite.
A communication satellite is a microwave repeater station in a space that is used for
telecommunication, radio and television signals. A communication satellite process the data coming
from one earth station and it converts the data into another form and send it to the second earth
station.
HOW A SATELLITE WORKS
Two stations on earth want to communicate through radio broadcast but are too far away to use
conventional means. The two stations can use a relay station for their communication.
One earth station transmits the signal to the satellite. Uplink frequency is the frequency at which
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ground station is communicating with satellite.


The satellite transponder converts the signal and sends it down to the second earth station, this is
called Downlink.
ADVANTAGES OF SATELLITE
1. The Coverage area is very high than that of terrestrial systems.
2. The transmission cost is independent of the coverage area.
3. Higher bandwidths are possible.
DIS- ADVANTAGES OF SATELLITE
1. Launching satellites into orbits is a costly process.
2. The bandwidths are gradually used up.
3. High propagation delay for satellite systems than the conventional terrestrial systems.
PATH TRACED BY A SATELLITE
The path traced by a satellite around the earth is an elliptical path with two focuses.

How Do Satellites Work :


Satellite Communication Basics :
The process of satellite communication begins at an earth station. Here an installation designed to
transmit and receive signals from a satellite in orbit around the earth. Earth stations send information
to satellites in the form of high powered, high frequency (GHz range) signals. The satellites, which
receive and retransmit the signals back to earth where they are received by other earth stations in
the coverage area of the satellite. Satellite's footprint is the area which receives a signal of useful
strength from the satellite. The transmission system from the earth station to the satellite through a
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channel is called the uplink. The system from the satellite to the earth station through the channel is
called the downlink. Below Figure shows the basic elements of a satellite communications system.

Satellite Frequency Bands:


The satellite frequency bands which was commonly used for communication are the C-band, Kuband, and Ka-band. C-band and Ku-band are the commonly used frequency spectrums by today's
satellites. It is important to note that there is an inverse relationship between frequency and
wavelength i.e. when frequency increases, wavelength decreases this helps to understand the
relationship between antenna diameter and transmission frequency. Larger antennas (satellite dishes)
are necessary to gather the signal with increasing wavelength.
From 4 to 8 GHz frequency range, C-band satellite transmissions occupy. Than the Ku-band or Kaband, these relatively low frequencies translate to larger wavelengths. These larger wavelengths of
the C-band mean that a larger satellite antenna is required to gather the minimum signal strength.
Hence the minimum size of an average C-band antenna is approximately 2-3 meters in diameter. It is
shown in Figure.
The frequency range from 11 to 17 GHz occupied by Ku-band satellite transmissions. These
relatively high frequency transmissions correspond to shorter wavelengths. Thus a smaller antenna
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can be used to receive the minimum signal strength. Ku-band antennas can be as small as 18
inches in diameter. It can be commonly seen in the RCA DSS and
Sony DSS systems. The Ku-band antenna of the Sony DSS system
is shown in below figure.

The 20 to 30 GHz frequency range is occupied by the Ka-band satellite transmissions. These very
high frequency transmissions means very small wavelengths and therefore very small diameter
receiving antennas are used.
Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Satellites
The majority of satellites in orbit around the earth are positioned at a point 22,238 miles above
the earth's equator in a special type of geosynchronous earth orbit (GSO) known as Geostationary
earth orbit (GEO). it is also called as the Clarke orbit. This is in honour of Arthur C. Clarke. He is the
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man who first suggested in 1945 that satellites in geosynchronous orbits could be used for
communications purposes. A satellite can maintain an orbit with a period of rotation around the earth
exactly equal to 24 hours at the precise distance of 22,238 miles. satellites appear stationary from
the earths surface, since the they revolve at the same rotational speed of the earth. Due to this
reason, most earth station antennas (satellite dishes) don't need to move once they have been
properly aimed at a target satellite in the sky. The mathematical derivation of the Clarke orbit can be
obtained as a straight-forward calculus problem.

The Clarke Orbit


Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) Satellites
The technological innovations in space communications during the last few years, have given rise to
new orbits and totally new systems designs. Medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite networks will orbit at
distances of about 8000 miles from earth's surface. Signals transmitted from a MEO satellite travel a
shorter distance. This translates to improved signal strength at the receiving end. This shows that
smaller, more lightweight receiving terminals can be used at the receiving end. Also, since the signal
is travelling a shorter distance to and from the satellite. Hence there is less transmission delay.
Transmission delay can be defined as the time it takes for a signal to travel up to a satellite and
back down to a receiving station. For real-time communications, the shorter the transmission delay,
better the communication system. As an example, a GEO satellite requires .25 seconds for a round
trip. A MEO satellite requires less than .1 seconds to complete a round trip. MEOs operates in the
frequency range of 2 GHz and above.
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Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites


The LEO satellites are mainly classified into three categories: little LEOs, big LEOs, and MegaLEOs. LEOs will orbit at a distance of 500 to 1000 miles above the earth's surface. This relatively
short distance reduces transmission delay to only .05 seconds. This further reduces the need for
sensitive and bulky receiving equipment. Little LEOs will operate in the 800 MHz (.8 GHz) range. Big
LEOs will operate in the 2 GHz or above range, and Mega-LEOs operates in the 20-30 GHz range.
The higher frequencies associated with Mega-LEOs translates into more information carrying
capacity and yields to the capability of real-time, low delay video transmission scheme. Microsoft
Corporation and McCaw Cellular (now known as AT&T Wireless Services) have partnered to deploy
840 satellites to form Teledesic. It is a proposed Mega-LEO satellite network.
High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Platforms
Experimental HALE platforms are basically highly efficient and lightweight airplanes carrying
communications equipments. This will act as very low earth orbit geosynchronous satellites. These
crafts will be powered by a combination of battery and solar power or high efficiency turbine engines.
HALE platforms will offer transmission delays of less than .001 seconds at an altitude of only 70,000
feet, and even better signal strength for very lightweight hand-held receiving devices.
Orbital Slots
Here there may arise a question that with more than 200 satellites up there in geosynchronous orbit,
how do we keep them from running into each other or from attempting to use the same location in
space?. To answer this problem, international regulatory bodies like the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) and national government organizations like the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) designate the locations on the geosynchronous orbit where the
communications satellites can be located. These locations are specified in degrees of longitude and
are called as orbital slots. The FCC and ITU have progressively reduced the required spacing down
to only 2 degrees for C-band and Ku-band satellites due to the huge demand for orbital slots.
Posted by Sreejith Hrishikesan at 07:02
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