What to Look For Just enough rocket science to make choosing a satellite easy.
All the thought that goes into designing a satellite communications network can be wasted by choosing the wrong satellite. Far from a commodity, satellites have differing capabilities which may or may not be right for you. Use the following criteria to assess and compare satellite performance, based on how the capacity will perform in your network:
There's no going back from space (until your contract expires).
A word of caution: All satellites are not created equal, and satellite performance can change throughout its lifetime on orbit (typically 12 to 20 years). Before choosing a particular satellite and satellite operator, be sure to evaluate all options; it can be difficult and costly to make changes once a space-segment contract is signed.
Understanding the following concepts will help assure the satellite service you buy will efficiently meet your needs.
- Satellite capacity comes from a geostationary satellite, it usually consists of one or more transponders, or a portion of one.
Transponder services are offered by the satellite operator, who purchases the spacecraft and arranges for the launch of the satellite into geostationary orbit. The operator controls the satellite through tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C) earth stations and a satellite control center (see illustration).
- The User simply chooses the satellite and satellite operator to complete its network, and contracts with the satellite operator for the capacity.