Thousands of satellites to launch under new system

Friday, 29 November, 2019

Thousands of satellites to launch under new system

Thousands of non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems will soon be deployed under a new milestone-based regulatory procedure.

The procedure — adopted by the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) — is designed to help ensure the ITU’s Master International Frequency Register reasonably reflects the actual deployment of NGSO satellite systems in certain frequency bands and services, according to the union.

Under the framework, organisations with assigned frequencies for their NGSO satellite systems will deploy 10% of their constellations within two years from the end of their current period of bringing into use, 50% within five years and complete deployment within seven, the union said.

In defining more flexible timelines and objective criteria, the WRC hopes to prevent spectrum warehousing while ensuring proper function of coordination mechanisms and meeting the operational requirements related to NGSO system deployment, the union said.

“Non-geostationary satellite systems are capable of providing high-capacity and low-cost means of communication even to the most isolated regions of the world,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

“In facilitating the deployment of NGSO satellite systems, WRC-19 has made it possible to connect the unconnected and bridge the digital divide,” Zhao said.

NGSO satellites move across the sky during their orbit around the earth, in medium Earth-orbit 8000–20,000 km above the earth and in low-Earth orbit at elevations between 400 and 2000 km, the union explained.

With the availability of launch vehicles capable of supporting multiple satellite launches, mega-constellations consisting of hundreds or thousands of spacecraft are becoming a popular solution for global telecommunications, including to remote rural areas and isolated communities, providing low-latency broadband coverage (owing to their proximity to the earth's surface), remote sensing, space and upper atmosphere research, meteorology, astronomy, technology demonstration and education.

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