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Satcoms course (header)

Satcoms 2018


33rd Satellite Communications Systems Course

24 - 28 September 2018 | 99 City Road Conference Centre, London

& IET London: Savoy Place

Continuous Professional Development CPD (logo)


Session 1

Principles and Background. Designing Satcom Applications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 9


This session will describe the basics of various types of antennas and define their respective performance parameters. It will cover reflector geometries and proceed to describe satellite missions detailing the design drivers and constraints.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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 & 18

Workshop exercises (see the Projects page) INSERT the LINK

Session 19

Inmarsat: Technologies and Services

The Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) is an essential commodity for all remote users whether on foot or in a moving vehicle (Truck, Boat, Plane etc.). Whilst Inmarsat has for many years provided Internet access through their BGAN service, the new “Global Xpress” Ka-Band satellites will provide very high speed internet access to the worldwide mobility market.

This session will show how technological development has implemented the evolution of each new service.

Session 20:

Inmarsat tour

The Inmarsat head office is at Old Street Roundabout in the London Borough of Islington. Aside from its commercial services, Inmarsat provides global maritime distress and safety services (GMDSS) to ships and aircraft at no charge, as a public service.

A key highlight of the course is a tour of the facilities which include the Network Operations Centre and Satellite Control Centre, where delegates can see how Inmarsat proactively manages its global data and voice services and meet the team of experts that ‘fly’ the company’s satellites. (Individual participation is subject to screening & confirmation by Inmarsat, UK; delegates from Inmarsat’s competitors can expect to be omitted from the tour).


Standard member - £1999
Standard non-member - £2250
Student - £1000
Govt/mil - £1250 (10% discount on groups of three or more)

One day fee

Member - £400
Non-member - £450
Student - £250
Govt/mil - £350