SATConsult, a leading satellite engineering consultancy and member of Euroconsult Group, has been selected by ESA to lead a consortium, composed of RHEA Group, Airbus and Space Hellas, to help develop a secure, independent, and centralized digital platform for Pooling & Sharing (P&S) satellite communication resources.
ESA has identified an increasing demand for secure satellite communications worldwide and a need for reliable and secured communications to support a variety of domains such as crisis management, maritime safety, border control and other security domains. Satellite capacity is an important resource in establishing secure communications links, especially where terrestrial infrastructure is compromised - such as is the case with natural disasters. However, despite availability, it is currently a difficult and lengthy process to identify and allocate those resources to set up communications links for missions where time can be a critical factor.
To address this problem, ESA has initiated an innovative study to provide a preliminary design of a service portal that would seamlessly allow end user demands (that might have different security needs and different operational regions) to be matched, in near real-time, to the available offers. In this study, SATConsult has been selected to consolidate requirements, to develop the preliminary design of such a Pooling & Sharing solution that could be implementable after 2020, and to identify the technological challenges which could arise over the long-term evolution of this system.
The design of the digital platform will be complex and necessitates a profound understanding of the constraints related to satellite payload, available frequency resources and restrictions concerning certified terminals. Interfaces will need to be set up with satellite operators in order to give near real-time updates on resource availability. The interface will need to check available interlinking resources and schedule in a short turnaround time. Finally, bandwidth lease and more elaborate managed service agreements and terms and conditions compatible with all satellite operators will need to be put into place.
The design of this digital platform will revolutionize the scheduling of satcom resources. It will prepare the ground for future satcom technological transitions that require satellite resources to be assigned in a real-time manner to support a wide variety of applications / links. It could for example be used as a blueprint for hubs allowing satellites to carry 5G networks.
"We are honored to have been selected by ESA for such an important mission. SATConsult and its parent company, Euroconsult, both have extensive experience in conducting consultation processes in Europe and internationally with government end users of satellite solutions. For this mission, we have established a consortium based on independence, expertise and complementarity of experience to provide a sound and unbiased analysis of the subject to ESA," stated David Chégnion, Managing Director of SATConsult.