At the annual UKSEDS conference in March, the Cransfield University team, CranSEDS, and the University of Sheffield team will each be awarded a cash prize for their designs of a global continuous coverage communication services constellation. In the 2017 Competition, “Small Sats – The Next Generation,” SSPI and UKSEDS challenged students to develop a design for a communications satellite under 150 kg capable of delivering 50 Mbps of data connectivity from LEO to small antennas on the ground.
Advising the CranSEDS team was Joe Amor, Vice President & General Manager at Microspace Communications. The University of Sheffield team was advised by Ed Ashford, President of Ashford Consulting. We thank them for generously donating time and expertise to the next generation.
In their report, the CranSEDS team designed a constellation to provide local telecommunications companies in a variety of countries with competitive continuous service. The team chose polar orbits for its satellites as the most efficient option with 11 polar orbit planes each carrying 22 satellites for a total of 242 satellites in the constellation. The final orbit height for the team’s design was 2,000 km, the maximum height for LEO. The CranSEDS team predicted a launch date of 2025 with each satellite having an 8-year lifespan. Click here to read more.
University of Sheffield Team
In a report titled “Project Talaris: Delivering Affordable Connectivity to the World,” the University of Sheffield team designed a satellite constellation based on the Walker Delta constellation layout, featuring inter-satellite linking to allow for ground station effectiveness across a greater distance. The team designed a constellation of 1,392 satellites with 48 planes carrying 29 satellites each into orbit. The constellation’s final orbit is an elliptical orbit at 500 km. The team chose SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy as a launch vehicle. The University of Sheffield team predicted a launch date within 6.5 years of beginning the project with the constellation operating for 20 years. Click here to read more.