Monday, March 7, 2016

Satellite 2016 - Day 1

Software defined payloads, beam-forming arrays, and unfurling antennas are just a few of the technologies to power the digital satellite revolution.  The challenge is to reach a price point that is competitive with terrestrial alternatives and with enough capacity to serve the addressable markets.

Day 1 ended with a reception sponsored by Global Eagle Entertainment, on the top of the convention center.  You can see the Washington Monument, on the right, looking out from National Harbor, Md. across the Potomac River and I495.

These were the gems I heard.

Need a primer, check out my blog:
Beam Hopping, Beam Forming, Frequency Reuse, and the Quest for Maximizing Satellite Throughput
Mark Sirangelo Sierra Nevada
Pace of technology is making equipment obsolete within two years of being launched. 
Arnold Barthere, Thales Alenia Space
Software defined satellites offer on-orbit flexibility and configuration, which creates a generic, standard satellite.
Kevin Jackson, Flexitech
Software defined satellite shortens procurement with personalization as a last step or in-orbit. 
Need an open standard to define the interface between satellite and teleport to enable interoperability.  
Steve Sichi, Boeing Satellite
Digital satellite enabling technology: 
  • FPGA 
  • ASIC 
  • GaN (Gallium Nitride)
Satellite solid state payload is turning into a "chipset". 
Mass saved from electric propulsion enables much more powerful digital payloads. (launch makes it a zero-sum proposition).
Steve Osman SES
Feeder link improvements coming to serve enormous bandwidth: 
  • Q/V band 
  • LASER photonics - optical  
Pierre-Jean Belier, SpeedCast
Satellite cost is less than half the cost of delivering service to consumers.  Labor costs are high - it takes people and their costs aren't coming down.
Thomas Butash, Innovative Aerospace
Satellite prices are too high. Terrestrial broadband (here in DC) delivers 50-150 Mbps for $20-$30. Satellite broadband offer is 12 Mbps for $50 (per month).
Antonio Abad, CTO Hispasat
Satellite services must be cost and performance competitive with terrestrial cellular providers. 
Satellite services can come down a factor of one hundred based on electronic and photonics improvements 
Reusable launchers have been around for many years, example Space Shuttle.
Pierre-Jean Belier, SpeedCast
Satellite service can be price competitive with terrestrial, just not in the big cities - everywhere else.  (The Walmart model)
Thierry Guillemin CTO Intelsat
Gogo is the first contract for both LEO (OneWeb) and GEO (EPIC HTS). 
Intelsat is investing in ecosystem - as in terminal equipment, including Kymeta and Phasor Solutions antennas with an interoperable OneWeb/FSS terminal 
Wide beam offers content distribution as an overlay to a terrestrial network. New media, software. (as in connected car)
In five years software defined satellites plus in-orbit beam forming will lead to off-the-shelf generic satellites. 
Vertical integration can be very efficient, but a closed ecosystem can lock you into proprietary solutions that are a challenge to evolve. 
Brian Holz CTO OneWeb
Access nodes will provide LTE to user terminals as an extension of cellular network. 
Oneweb launching many satellite to increase look angle to client.  Minimizing scan loss opens the door to a low cost phased array antenna.
OneWeb service within 15 deg of equator will require either coordination or an FSS overlay to avoid any coverage gap. More satellites minimizes the cone of interference. (by increasing the average pointing angle).
Aero antennas excess energy above GSO will probably not interfere with OneWeb service links. (in thinking about this, at the equator the antenna will be skewed so the azimuth beamwidth aligns along the GSO.  In this case, the off-axis emissions are much more compliant.  OneWeb will not be sensitive to airplanes operating away from the equator because in those scenarios the OneWeb terminal will be looking up and not towards the interfering terminal.) 
Oneweb access nodes have visibility to support north pole coverage. (the access nodes connect to the satellites at lower elevation angles which could technically allow service in the polar regions) 
Matt O'Connell, CEO Oneweb
OneWeb is building for scale, driving down cost with Airbus.  Like Henry Ford and the Model T.  Market demand for connectivity is insatiable, a rising tide for everyone.
OneWeb will be cheap. Aiming to serve small markets or enterprise.  Fill the gaps in coverage.  OneWeb fills the most expensive gap to achieve 100% public access: the last mile. 
Good to combine government with commercial services. Any targeted attack takes out friends and foes alike, lessening the likelihood of a service outage.
Tom Choi, ABS
FSS had negative growth in 2015. A LEO networks spends 90% of its coverage where there are no customers.  Building a cheap satellite raises reliability concern.  A 100+ Gbps FSS will enable lowest cost compared to LEO. 
Direct to Home Broadcasting is possibly saturated in US and W Europe, yet less than 30% of the global demand is being met for DBS. Lots of growth in regional markets 
Scale is driving down the cost of an FSS terminal from $300 to $100 which will grow the market. A LEO tracking antenna will keep cost higher than a fixed FSS terminal. 
A satellite terminal will be shared by residents in undeveloped countries through picocell, cellular, Wi-Fi.
Chris Hill CTO ITC Global
Need 40+teleports and the terrestrial network to deliver Gbps to each teleport 

ITC Global Coverage Plane - Including HTS and XTS

Need new modems and antennas to take advantage of HTS and XTS.  (this includes modem symbol rate and processing plus antenna instantaneous bandwidth)
Need azimuth diversity (2 slots) to offer service across every side of an oil rig 
Bill Milroy CTO ThinKom
Antennas need better 
  • EIRP 
  • Noise Temp
  • Cross-pol rejection 
  • Instantaneous bandwidth. Antenna for HTS needs 500 MHz instantaneous bandwidth 2 GHz tunable bandwidth 
  • Tunable bandwidth
  • Beam pointing 
  • Scan range 
Hub feedback of return channel is being used to calibrate transmit array beam steering

Rectangular phased array may be superior to bigger circular dish because their side lobes align along the major and minor antenna axis, whereas they are pervasive with a parabolic dish.

Side lobes from rectangular and circular apertures

Guy Perez CTO OHB System
Q/V and optical feeder are the feeder links of the future 
Dan Peleg CTO @NovelSat
Interference sources are either   
  • Unwanted in-band carrier (overlapping in frequency and beam) 
  • Adjacent satellite, in-band (overlapping in frequency, diverse in beam)
  • Cross-pol in-band, in beam (overlapping in frequency and beam, cross-pol
15 dB improvement in signal strength over DVB-S2 in the presence of pulse and narrowband interference using robust NS3 modulation 

Mark Lambert Advantech
Direct-to-home teleport design saved $212M over traditional approach.  Used solid state amplifiers installed at the antenna flange which avoided building a shelter and lower power consumption.  All the equipment in line replaceable.  Better beam steering provides higher signal strength.

Vadim Teplyakov, Yaliny
Yaliny is a new LEO network with service in 2020+.  They will use a 17 GHz band uplink and a 19 GHz band downlink.   Voice and 1 Mbps to a smartphone,  5 Mbps to a portable device. (first I had heard of them)  

Peter Lemme

Copyright 2016
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great summaries Peter...Bill M.