S-COM – S-Band Communication for Satellites
Broadband data links from satellites are currently implemented in a frequency range of more than 10 GHz. Many scientific satellites operate in the K/Ka-band and commercial satellite TV channels operate in the X-band. Even though lower operating frequencies such as S-band may generally be provided by regulatory authorities, there is very little RF bandwidth available internationally, so that usually only narrow band communication links are implemented. Whereby the lower operating frequencies are significantly more suitable for more cost-effective radio solutions.
New and innovative radio solutions for nano and micro satellites were investigated and verified within the context of the leading edge S-COM, which uses corresponding S-band frequencies at 2.2-2.3 GHz much more effectively than schemes known so far, therefore allowing effective, cost-efficient and broadband radio communication with such satellites in future. Innovative procedures with several transmit and receive channels, so-called MIMO principles (Multiple Input Multiple Output), which have already been applied in the latest terrestrial mobile radio systems UMTS/LTE, have been adapted for satellite applications. By using two different polarization of plane waves in the radio channel:
- high reliability of radio communication can be achieved by means of redundancy and diversity,
- broadly configurable data rates can be adapted, which correspond with the respective quality of the current connection and
- outstanding transmission rates can be achieved.
An equipment technology for application in LEO (low earth orbit) i.e. for small, low orbiting satellites, lasting several years, was prototypical established and qualified within the context of a demonstration solution. An adaptation for concrete satellite missions will follow. We as latrom systems look forward in engaging and implementing this recent technologies in this portfolio soon!
The project was financed by BMBF funds by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) under the funding reference number 50 YB 0804.