Optimizing the Communication Capacity of a Ground Station Network

Rogerio Atem de Carvalho


Small satellites are growing in use for educational, scientific, and commercial purposes, usually in Low Earth Orbit(LEO) flights, given their lower costs and associated risks, as well as smaller lead times for assembling and testing. However, the typically short periods of LEO passes bring the need to find ways of optimizing the communication between the ground and space segments. In that direction, several projects have relied on ground station networks to increase the total time of contact with the satellites. In this type of arrangement, the stations agree in monitoring one or more satellites in such a way that, as the spacecraft exits one station’s field of view, another station assumes its tracking, extending the total communication time and compensating the short passes. This type of solution, while very efficient in terms of costs, on the other hand demands a good synchronization procedure, so that all constraints present in its operations are taken into account and the network can operate effectively. This paper aims at describing a model implemented for orchestrating ground station networks that optimizes the communication capacity of the ground network, while taking into account physical constraints not usually considered in other models currently proposed.


Satellite tracking; Ground station networks; Network optimization

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