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Ground stations for United Nations missions

Outlying bases in Africa recently equipped

UN peace keeping missions stay connected via ND Satcom hub-stations

ND SatCom, part of Airbus Defence and Space, has been delivering and installing ground stations for United Nations missions as part of a three-year contract signed in 2008. With the first contract extension in May, and outlying posts just equipped in Darfur, Sudan, and Mombasa, Kenya, the contract is in full swing.

Although ND SatCom installed satellite hub terminals initially in Brindisi, Italy – the UN’s primary uplink facility for their worldwide missions – and Valencia, Spain, it has also moved into Darfur, Mombasa and Entebbe in Uganda since then. These are regional bases for UN peacekeeping operations and, as such, represent a tougher environment in which to set up a secure satellite communications hub.

“It’s a major challenge working in these parts of the world, so you need a good field crew who know how to work around unexpected situations,” says Steve Spader, Operations Manager on the issues that can arise when installing and testing equipment at outlying UN bases.

The work on site – which includes installation integration, testing and customer training – is the final stage in a series of activities required to get the UN bases up and running. The system design assures reliable, secure, mission-critical operation by providing full hardware redundancy and comprehensive monitoring and control.

ND SatCom has been building on its reputation with the UN since winning the original contract in 2008. “I think the real differentiators were our design approach, excellent past performance and a solid track record,” explains Steve.

But the company doesn’t want to stop there. “There is still available funding on the contract for the UN to purchase additional stations” says Chris Morris, CEO, ND SatCom Inc. (the US subsidiary). “And they’re also interested in our SkyWAN modem in order to gain greater bandwidth efficiency.”

Photo: The Mombasa (Kenya) ground station under construction © ND SatCom

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