SB-SAT (Swift-Broadband for Satellites) is a LEO spacecraft communications system which enables continuous, near real-time communications between the satellite operators and the spacecraft, eliminating the need for expensive new investments in dedicated ground infrastructure and drastically increasing the operational capability of the LEO spacecraft.
Existing communication systems for LEO spacecraft are severely limited to the ground station overpass period (approximately ten minutes per orbit). To use this extremely limited but vital communications link, satellite operators must invest in very expensive ground segment infrastructure, or lease dedicated facilities. The operational features of this arrangement dictate the use of on-board data storage and often lead to ‘out of date’ data.
The SB-SAT terminal revolutionizes the way satellite operators access LEO spacecraft by enabling continuous, near real-time communications. The space-borne terminals relay signals to the Inmarsat IV network in geostationary orbit, and then through the Inmarsat ground stations to the user or operator, making full use of Inmarsat’s mobile broadband system and its proven infrastructure. The user application layer is fully accessible from anywhere on the globe through a secure internet connection. Guaranteed throughput is available at application-specific rates.
- Instant access to TT&C and payload data
- Real-time tasking
- Snapshot imaging
- Rapid access to time-critical data such as space weather
- Radically improved anomaly investigation
- Data relay for the International Space Station (ISS)
- Launch vehicle TT&C for increased launch geometry options
- Space tourism video or VOIP links
- Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) systems
The SB-SAT terminal is being jointly developed by COM DEV Europe and Broad Reach Engineering, in partnership with Inmarsat. Development is already under way with the support of the the European Space Agency and first flight units will be become available in Q4/2013. A LEO demonstration flight is already being planned with the support of DARPA.
SB-SAT Proposed Configuration
The SB-SAT Data Sheet and a recent technical paper are also available for download.