Airbus Defence and Space

Telecommunications All features

Satellites for every application

Large-scale connectivity with an unparalleled degree of flexibility

 

 

Global satellite communications depend to a very large measure on satellites; they provide the connectivity we need, to keep us in touch, to keep us informed, to keep us entertained – and, in emergency situations, to keep us safe. Their privileged position up in geostationary orbit means that they can deliver a whole host of applications, without borders and without blind spots.

 

Fixed services

Telecom satellites management center in Airbus Defence and Space Toulouse

Using fixed links, long-distance, point-to-point relays and fixed antennas, satellites deliver a wealth of various applications in this sector: telephony (voice communication), data transmission, television broadcast and internet content supply between distribution hubs and to cable headends, business and corporate networks with VSAT (very small aperture terminals) multipoint systems. With satellites, what we get is large-scale connectivity with an unparalleled degree of flexibility.

In many parts of the world, terrestrial networks are patchy or non-existent. Satellite connections give the inhabitants of these remote or underserved regions full membership of the information society.

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Television and radio broadcast

Television and radio broadcast by satellite

For many years, communications satellites’ main application has been direct TV and radio broadcast: television and radio channels are transmitted from ground stations to satellites which then beam the channels across wide swathes of the planet and directly to the end-user’s appliance.

A single satellite can provide several hundreds of TV channels to an entire country or continent. Signal transmission digitisation has vastly enhanced the satellite’s carriage potential in terms of number of channels, which has led to the flourishing market of satellite TV packages. These broadcasts can be received by both private and commercial customers using local satellite receiver keys.

A little over 20 years ago, the increase in the number of direct TV broadcast satellites largely eliminated ‘black spots’, those areas of remote or high terrain unable to receive terrestrial TV.

These days – thanks to satellites – the same TV channels, be they standard quality or high definition, can be received by households wherever they are.

Airbus Defence and Space is a world leader for high-power direct-to-home TV satellites, with more than 40 built to date.

Ever more powerful satellites

Hot Birds 9 and 10 in assembly at Toulouse

The current Hot Bird 8, 9 and 10 satellites, each with 64 Ku-band transponders, have three times the capacity of the Hot Bird 2–5 satellites launched 10 years earlier.

Hot Bird 9 & 10
Astra 2F 

Astra 2F

The satellites that Airbus Defence and Space is in the process of building for Astra represent by themselves a capacity equal to 75% of the operator’s current in-service fleet.

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Mobile services

Mobile communications by satellite

Mobile communications – voice, data and video carried to small portable terminals which do not need to be precisely oriented to lock on to the satellite – is another key area of modern-day interaction. Their proliferation on a global scale means that all over the world the professional environment is of uniform quality, with broadband access available everywhere.

Based on the principle of ‘anyone, anywhere, anytime’, mobile communications are steadily transforming how people communicate with each other. Mobile communications are the future – that is absolutely clear. Trends indicate that sooner or later we will be carrying cell phones which are permanently on-line and connected to the entire world and which contain the totality of our knowledge and indeed our identity …

Airbus Defence and Space designs and builds the most sophisticated satellites, such as the three in-service Inmarsat-4 satellites and Alphasat I-XL, currently in final assembly at Toulouse in France.

Inmarsat-4: The three in-service Inmarsat-4 satellites provide broadband to mobile users worldwide.

Inmarsat-4 

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Interactive broadband

Interactive broadband by satellite

Internet access for all? That’s what satellites make possible, via bi-directional broadband links between the end-users – however distant they may be from a terrestrial network – and gateways connecting to the internet backbone.

Today’s latest-generation satellites now offer everybody true broadband access. At the end of 2010, the launch of Hylas 1 and Ka-Sat, two ultra-modern satellites designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space for multi-beam Ka-band coverage, marked a really radical leap forward in making internet access available for all.

The Hylas 1 ‘Highly Adaptable Satellite’ allows its operator, the British company Avanti, to tailor its power and throughput supply to fluctuating traffic demand.

The Hylas 1 ‘Highly Adaptable Satellite’ allows its operator, the British company Avanti, to tailor its power and throughput supply to fluctuating traffic demand.

Built for Eutelsat, Ka-Sat is the first high-throughput satellite specially designed to provide high-speed Ka-band internet access to customers across the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean area.

Built for Eutelsat, Ka-Sat is the first high-throughput satellite specially designed to provide high-speed Ka-band internet access to customers across the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean area.

Multi-beam technology, massive frequency re-use and a high-precision pointing system are key to achieving its world record throughput capacity of 70 Gbps.

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Secure communications

Secure communications by satellite

Efficient, rapid and above all secure communications are of paramount importance in today’s military operations. Military communications require secure links with highly flexible coverage.

There are times when information just has to get through – to the right people, and only the right people, wherever they are, however hostile the environment. Armed forces have highly specific communications requirements, and are extensive users of satellite technology, which, in comparison to ground-based networks, affords immediate and wide coverage, greater flexibility in terms of power and frequencies, and, critically, almost total freedom from events likely to interfere with terrestrial transmissions.

Airbus Defence and Space supplies satellite solutions for the armed forces of nations around the world; notable examples are the Uk's Skynet 5  and German SATCOMBw-2 systems.

Skynet 5, communications satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space

Skynet 5

The Skynet 5 satellites, operated by Airbus Defence and Space’s Paradigm subsidiary, provide all beyond-line-of-sight communications services requirements for the UK Armed Forces and for other national and institutional customers around the world.

 

Read more:

 A special dossier full of informative articles, animation and videos has been created about telecommunications satellites.

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