Satellite coverage planning

19 Mar 2021

The earth seen from space is a key visual when planning future satellite services. And being able to select the intended service regions or countries is no further away than a mouse-click.

What is satellite coverage planning?

Satellite coverage planning describes the entire process from the conception of an idea for a new future satellite system to the final in-orbit testing of the spacecraft after launch, or elements thereof. It consists of many disciplines, ranging from specifying the intended geographical areas, metropolises and individual cities, performing preliminary antenna gain estimation under ideal an non-ideal conditions, accessing final antenna and payload performance to marketing-oriented presentation of the service.

When do you need to plan satellite coverage?

Communications satellites must be designed to offer the best possible service between intended geographical areas, without causing disturbance to other regions. A starting point in satellite coverage planning is therefore to define those areas such that the payload may subsequently be designed with this in mind.

In the early phase it is important to estimate the expected performance under consideration of the antenna size and payload power consumption, both of which have direct bearing on the satellite bus design.

Once the service scenario is well-established, it is important to communicate this to, among others, the antenna designers for them to perform advanced antenna design optimisations.

At later stages in the planning, the final and detailed antenna performance should be incorporated in order to create coverage maps for e.g. regulatory filing purposes.

Available tool for satellit coverage planning

SATSOFT is specifically designed for communication satellite coverage planning, mission analysis, and preliminary antenna layout.

With SATSOFT you have the capability to assess satellite coverage planning, combined with numerous options for generating and displaying antenna patterns to fulfill performance requirements.

Future system planners, operators, service providers and antenna designers will benefit from the intuitive GUI in SATSOFT offering vast antenna pattern display capabilities. As an extra benefit, SATSOFT enables export of preliminary antenna configuration in the format that can be used by the antenna designer to set up starting configurations in TICRA Tools, just as SATSOFT may import and display pattern files from TICRA Tools.

 

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