Session 1:

Principles and background of Satellite communications

Dave Davis, ST Engineering iDirect

This session introduces different satellite communication systems architectures and the resulting impacts on the satellite user. This sets the scene for more detailed lectures later in the week. Built on historical, current day and future developments, various simulations will be used to illustrate the different types of satellite coverage, and the relative merits of different constellation types.

This session also focuses on the goals of differing Satcom applications leading to an appreciation of the component parts, in both hardware and software, of a Satcom terminal. The design goals of a Satcoms application engineer will be explored, preparing students to begin linking subsequent lectures to specific elements of a Satcom application.

Session 2:

Commercial Aspects of Satcoms

David Jowsey, BT Media & Broadcast


The purpose of this session is to show how the technical aspects described in the other sessions of this course can be used to generate revenue and provide value for money through the implementation of various different satellite services, and how we manage some of the key risks along the way.

Session 3:

Military Satcoms

Dave Davis, ST Engineering iDirect


This session will commence with a study of the evolution and growth of military Satcoms and then proceed to explain the unique requirements of the space and ground segments and their associated threats and countermeasures.

We complete the session with some thoughts about the future.

Session 4:

The Future of Satcoms

Paul Febvre, Satellite
Applications Catapult


This session will summarize the state-of-the-art, and explore how the current and planned investments in new satellite constellations and emerging mobile terminal technologies will impact the future of MSS applications.

A range of future scenarios are envisioned in which satellite and terrestrial systems are provided seamless connectivity for a range of emerging applications.

Session 5:

Link Budget Primer

Tim Tozer, University of York


This session introduces the decibel notation and how it is used to represent system gain and loss. The dB notation is then applied to signal power, and transmit EIRP, and the principles of a basic satellite link are developed.

Noise is introduced, and it is shown how a simple link budget is derived.

Session 6:

Modulation and Coding

Alister Burr, University of York


The session gives an overview of the modulation schemes and error correction codes used in satellite systems, focussing first on the main performance parameters of these schemes, to assist with specifying the requirements for a particular system, and secondly on the fundamental principles behind them.

It will be illustrated with case studies drawn from the DVB-S2 and DVB-SH standards.

Session 7:

Satellite Systems Planning – Power Link Budgeting

Barry Evans,
University of Surrey


The power and noise link budgets are developed for complete outbound and inbound links. Calculation of C/N, C/I, G/T, EIRP and the noise performance of earth stations and satellite payloads is given.

You will learn how to assess the channel performance for fixed and mobile satellite links and its relationship with availability is given as well as how to include the effects of intermodulation in the link budgets.

Session 8:

QoS Design Using Link Budgets

Barry Evans,
University of Surrey


This session links the QoS desired by users to the power link budgets. The role of modulation and coding and links to carrier bandwidth will is given as well as the error rate performance linked to the required C/N.

The overall design starting from the desired QoS and ending with the satellite system dimensioning is given and examples discussed.

Session 9a & b:


Tim Waterfield, Airbus DS


a. This session will describe the basics of various types of antenna and define their respective performance parameters, with an emphasis on passive antennas. It will cover reflector geometries and proceed to describe satellite missions detailing the design drivers and constraints.

b. This session builds on the previous content to distinguish the principles of active array antennas, and discusses the various architectures emerging in the new generations of satellites.

Examples will be taken from recent Airbus DS spacecraft but will be fairly generic, to avoid going into commercially sensitive areas.

Session 10:

Satcoms on the Move

Kevin Shaw,
UK Strategic Command, MoD


Today's mobile phone generation expects connectivity at all times and all places - easy if you're standing on a street corner in a town but more difficult on a plane at 30,000 feet or on a ship in the middle of the Ocean or on a train in a tunnel. Whilst Satcom provides the best means of covering a large area at a low cost there are challenges.

This session will explore the problems and solutions for Satcom on the move in the air, at sea and on land.

Session 11:

Spacecraft Engineering and Operations

Max Petrozzi-Ilstad, Thales Alenia Space

This session first identifies the technical difficulties that a satellite engineer faces when designing a geostationary communications satellite. For example there are issues of remoteness, the impossibility of repair, the radiation environment and difficulties caused by working in a vacuum. The standard ways in which the engineer overcomes these challenges are outlined in a generally jargon-free manner.

The session aims to give a delegate an overview of the basics – and this complements other sessions on payload and antenna engineering.

Session 12:

Payload Engineering

Daryl Jones,
Airbus DS

In this session we identify the main components of the communications payload and explain how designs are impacted by the changing needs of the user.

Session 13:

Earth Station RF Engineering

David Bookham,
Consultant Engineer

This session describes the procedure through which a hub earth station is planned, designed and implemented.

The session concentrates on the RF aspects (up/down conversion, amplification and antenna).

Session 14:

TCP/IP and Satellite

Gorry Fairhurst,
University of Aberdeen

This talk discusses the issue of satellite access using Internet Protocols, in particular the problems caused by the comparatively long round-trip times of geostationary satellite systems, and describes the advantages and drawbacks of the most common techniques used to address these issues: compression, proxies and protocol enhancement.

Session 15:


David Siddle,
University of Leicester

This session explains how propagation affects the link budget as an EM field is reflected, refracted, attenuated, depolarised and scattered as it passes through various medium comprising the satellite link.

Session 16:

Satellite Access Techniques

Paul Mitchell,
University of York

This session commences with basic Satcom network architectures (Hub, Mesh), and multiplexing concepts. FDMA and TDMA are described as multiple access techniques, along with the principles of DAMA schemes.

Contention-based schemes are introduced (e.g. ALOHA). Spread spectrum techniques and CDMA are described, and schemes compared.

Session 17:

Non-geostationary satellite systems

Ben Moores, OneWeb 


This session investigates why a satellite communications engineer might consider deploying or using non-geostationary satellites. It aims to provide an overview of the full range of commercial non-geostationary networks from LEO megaconstellations to pairs of HEO satellites and everything in between. The technical scope will be very broad and cover the differences between NGSOs and GEOs across the Space Segment, Ground Network, Operational, Regulatory domains.

Session 18 & 19:

Project leader: David Bookham,
Consultant Engineer

Project leader: Daryl Jones, Airbus Defence and Space

Workshop exercises (see the Projects page)