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European initiatives for a new generation of global satellite communication services. Phillipe Renaud and Nikos Fistas Communications and Surveillance Management EUROCONTROL. Outline of presentation. The potential of satellite communication services Limitations with current satellite systems

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european initiatives for a new generation of global satellite communication services

European initiativesfor a new generation of global satellite communication services

Phillipe Renaud and Nikos Fistas

Communications and Surveillance Management EUROCONTROL

outline of presentation
Outline of presentation
  • The potential of satellite communication services
  • Limitations with current satellite systems
  • Options for new satellite communication systems
  • Business and institutional aspects
  • Timescale
  • Summary - Conclusions
need for a complementary system
Need for a complementary system
  • The Aeronautical Mobile Communication Infrastructure needs to evolve to:
    • Accommodate Traffic growth  Need for additional capacity outside the VHF band
      • saturation anticipated in Europe even with new VHF technologies
    • Accommodate new ATS functions increasing flight safety, security and efficiency. These data exchanges will increasingly complement voice communication, which will still be required for immediate emergency and non-routine exchanges.
satellite communication technology
Satellite communication technology
  • Among the candidate systems, satellite-based technologies are being considered due to:
    • their ability to offer near-global coverage
    • they can be used where it is difficult or costly to implement a ground infrastructure
    • spot or regional beams can offer greater capacity where needed (e.g. in high density airspace)
    • they are suited to air-ground communications and broadcast applications
    • their capability to complement terrestrial systems (thus reducing pressure on the VHF spectrum)
eurocontrol nexsat project
Eurocontrol NexSAT Project
  • Mission Statement: to review the capability of satellite systems to complement around 2015+ the existing communications infrastructure
  • Main objectives
    • to review existing and emerging technologies and identify candidates
    • to work with industry to assist understanding the requirements and to offer appropriate solutions
    • to co-ordinate with other activities underway in other regions of the world through direct contact
    • to contribute to the ICAO work on future communication technologies
    • to meet with Stakeholders to ensure their views direct this work
from concept to implementation
From concept to implementation



(if any)

ID 6

Establish commercial


ID 8

Assessment of satellite technologies

ID 1

Research and development

of new techniques

ID 1.1

Early trials/



ID 1.3

Equipment development/

modification (Ground and


ID 9

Emerging or

existing systems

ID 1.2



ID 13

Validation ID 10




ID 7

Confirm Requirements

ID 2

Initial deployment

including flight trials

ID 10.1



ID 14


Requirements ID2.1


Requirements ID 2.2

Finalise institutional


ID 11

Initial Business and Institutional reviews

ID 3

Safety provisions

ID 12

In-Service Support

ID 15

Initial Safety considerations

ID 4

Standardisation Process

ID 5

current amss
Current AMSS
  • The current AMSS meets its design goals by -
    • offering safety and non-safety services to a full range of users sharing the L-band spectrum
  • However, there is limited deployment due to -
    • The cost of aircraft installation and avionics
    • The need to use Large Ground Earth Stations (GES) leading to limited options for communications service provision
  • Therefore currently AMSS is being used only in low-density and oceanic type airspace
  • New generation satellite communication systems could offer a higher quality of communication service for use in both low and high density airspace
required communications services
Required Communications Services
  • High levels of availability, reliability and continuity required for safety and regularity of flight communications
    • ATS Service
      • Voice - generally decreasing in use
      • Data - generally increasing in use
      • needs to support future ATM operational concepts from ICAO ATMCP in each type of airspace
    • AOC Service
      • Voice - meet continuing need for voice communications
      • Data - support increasing exchange of data messages
capacity requirements
Capacity Requirements
  • ATM concepts seem to need modest instantaneous throughputs - can be met by a medium rate highly reliable communication system (approx. ~1 kb/s* for data exchanges on average)
  • Flexibility to increase the communications capacity in specific high density areas through use of regional or spot beams
  • AOC voice requirements are still being considered but airlines foresee a large increase in data communications

*Eurocontrol Report ‘Operating Concept for the future mobile communication infrastructure - D2’

reuse and improve
Reuse and improve
  • A good infrastructure has been built up so let’s re-use it
    • GEO Satellites
    • GESs
    • Spectrum in L-band
    • Terrestrial networks
    • Institutional arrangements
  • but improve on it by overlaying it with a system with new features.
new generation satellite system
New Generation Satellite System
  • Some possible new features -
    • Low cost avionics
    • Use of advanced access and modulation techniques
    • Option to use Ku-band feeder links enabling small GESs
    • Design in high levels of availability, reliability and continuity required for safety and regularity of flight communications
  • These features are being investigated in the ESA Satellite Data Link System (SDLS), a project demonstrating the capabilities of satellite com system and investigating issues
esa satellite data link system
ESA Satellite Data Link System
  • The ESA SDLS project has been underway for several years
  • Key features of SDLS include
    • design to meet to safety and regularity of flight communications
    • Code Division Multiple Access e.g. to allow multiple access and increase overall efficiency
    • Ku feeder link
    • Party-line voice service
    • support for repetitive short messages
  • A demonstrator has been developed by Alcatel Space in Toulouse
other technologies
Other technologies
  • Existing AMSS (i.e. Aero H and I) are being used today for safety and regularity of communication applications (ATS and AOC) and also for non-safety airline administrative (AAC) and passenger communications (AAC and APC)
  • Other satellite communication systems that are also being used or are planned include:
    • Inmarsat aeronautical systems - Swift64, BGAN
    • Connexion by Boeing
    • Iridium
inmarsat systems
Inmarsat systems
  • Aero H,I and L
    • these are being used to offer ATS (and other services) in several regions of the world
  • Swift64
    • introduced to make better use of Aero H infrastructure for non-safety applications e.g. passenger services
  • BGAN
    • high data rates (up to 432kb/s) but not designed for safety services
  • All systems operate in AMSS L-band
  • Global infrastructure in place now and will continue
connexion by boeing
Connexion by Boeing
  • Service was designed to offer a high-speed Internet in the sky
  • Only targeted at non-safety communications I.e. passenger (APC) and non-safety related airline use (AAC)
  • Does not operate in ‘protected’ frequency band
    • obtained a global allocation at WRC03 on a secondary basis
  • Trials/service underway by several airlines e.g. Lufthansa, British Airways, SAS, All-Nippon Airways,……
  • Iridium offers a truly global coverage with 66 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites
  • Iridium is being used by aviation mainly for non-safety applications e.g. AAC and APC
  • However the FAA is planning to use Iridium to augment its terrestrial UAT network in its Capstone project in Alaska
  • Iridium offers a voice and data service
business aspects
Business Aspects
  • A ‘new’ Satellite communications system could bring benefits to aviation but it has to be at an ‘acceptable cost’
  • Need ‘buy-in’ from a range of Stakeholders
    • airspace users
    • ATS providers
    • Communications Service providers
    • Satellite Service providers
    • Manufacturing Industry
cost and benefits
Cost and benefits
  • Traditional C-B analysis will be needed to give indicative figures but may not be sufficient
  • Need to identify additional business drivers e.g. benefits of early equipage, better operational control, marketing benefits, etc
  • A range of business options
    • Single or Multiple ATSPs contract directly with SSP
    • Airlines contract directly with SSP
    • ATSPs and Airlines contract directly with CSP
    • CSP contract directly with SSP and offer service primarily to support airline operation
institutional aspects
Institutional Aspects
  • A number of issues have been identified including -
    • standardisation - ICAO, EUROCAE/RTCA, AEEC, etc
    • AMS(R)S spectrum availability - guaranteed amount of spectrum needed at the right time
    • Service level agreements with providers of satellite and communication services
    • Arrangement between satellite service providers needed if provided by several providers e.g. global and regional spots
    • Certification and approval
spectrum availability 1 2
Spectrum availability (1/2)
  • The currently AMS(R)S operates in the L-band (1.5 / 1.6 GHz) where aviation is a privileged user
    • Radio Regulations give AMS(R)S priority in use of spectrum
  • The amount of AMS(R)S spectrum needed is dependent on applications (ATS - Voice & Data; AOC Voice & Data)
  • The L-band is attractive for all mobile communication
    • propagation characteristics
spectrum availability 2 2
Spectrum availability (2/2)
  • Important considerations
    • more non-safety related communications could put pressure on safety users
    • obtaining a world-wide AMS(R)S allocation and deploying systems globally may take some time
    • important for aviation to use the spectrum
next steps
Next steps
  • We are finalising the Mission Requirements for the NexSAT service
    • take into account European AND other region requirements
    • contributing to the ICAO activity through the Aeronautical Communications Panel
    • we need inputs from all ICAO regions on
      • future ATS requirements
      • future airline operational control communications requirements
    • input is invited from this region - see Eurocontrol NexSAT web page for contact details
  • Satellite communication systems are already providing benefits to airspace users and ATSPs in several areas of the world - usually low density oceanic
  • New satellite systems could have better performance which may be used to support ATM in higher density airspace such as Europe and in other regions of the world
  • Spectrum to support new safety-related applications of satellite communications must be protected
  • EUROCONTROL is refining the requirements and will match these to emerging technologies
  • Co-ordination and involvement with all regions of the world is vital to achieve a globally harmonised system