Application Technology Strategy, LLC, (ATS), is the satellite consulting firm founded by Bruce Elbert, leading satellite expert and consultant, technologist, educator and author of standard industry books. We emphasize the how of developing satellite systems.

Satellite Communications Payload Design

Satellite Communications Payload Design and System Architecture: Bent Pipe and Digital Processor-based: June 23-26, 2014 - Columbia, MD - Current and planned satellite systems for fixed and mobile use now demand an array of advanced design/analysis techniques and architecture strategies. Developed for communications engineers, satellite designers and systems architects, this popular course provides a practical understanding of how modern satellite payloads (repeater and antennas) and end-to-end systems are designed and assembled to meet the most demanding service requirements of the private and government sectors. Design objectives and principles for both analog “bent-pipe” and digital on-board processing repeaters are investigated. This is extended to the overall system regarding its architecture, conceptual design, and ground segment engineering. With a focus on digital narrowband and broadband applications, the course considers operations in all of the current frequency allocations: UHF, L, S, C, X, Ku, and Ka bands. The lectures are broken down into major areas of investigation that allow participants to focus on elements of a communications satellite payload, satellite constellation and ground segment, and how they combine into the overall system.

The course begins from a systems engineering standpoint by identifying the requirements for the satellite payload, constellation and end-to-end system using current applications in digital video and broadband media, the Internet protocols and services, optimized voice communication, and mobile services to land, sea, and airborne platforms. Requirements of the satellite payload are derived and specifications reviewed at the input/output and subsystem level. Performance of all major building blocks is assessed: the repeater and its components, and the antenna system. Design principles and performance budgets are reviewed for each element, such as receivers, multiplexers, power amplifiers, analog and digital processors, reflector and feeds, and phased-array antennas. Critical analysis concepts, such as loss budgeting, group delay, intermodulation distortion, digital impairments, cross-polarization, adjacent satellite, and adjacent channel interference, are covered for the subsystem and system designer. Also presented are strategies to compile requirements and pursue the spectrum/orbit resource needed for success.

This course helps participants to:

· Understand how system requirements are transformed into design elements and specifications for the satellite communications payload

· Acquire design skills for configuring a bent-pipe repeater subsystem and the associated shaped beam antenna

· Understand the specific capabilities of different repeater components—low-noise amplifiers, filters, channel and power amplifiers, and power combiners—that are critical to meeting overall payload performance requirements

· Gain familiarity with the capabilities of digital on-board processing repeaters and the applications to which they are best suited

· Understand overall system architecture and the capabilities of ground segment elements—earth stations and user terminals—to integrate with the communications payload on an end-to-end system basis

· Be able to describe an overall system that addresses the service requirements and can be developed using currently available components in space and on the ground

· Create and pursue an effective spectrum/orbit acquisition strategy

In addition to a thorough review of the satellite payload design process, the ground segment and overall system are investigated, including requirements for major earth stations and user terminals to deliver one-way receive services, such as digital Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV, Digital Audio Radio Service via Satellite (DARS), and data broadcasting or two-way interactive services using VSAT and mobile communications technologies. Design tools for link budgets and end-to-end performance assessment are presented and demonstrated. The course concludes by considering a practical methodology for evaluating and optimizing the performance of the overall system. Throughout the course, emphasis is on design principles using classical mathematical techniques, along with modern software tools for personal computers. Examples are used extensively and participants are encouraged to bring along their particular design problems for consideration in class.

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