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Sturdivant R.L.,Microwave Products and Technology Inc. | Chong E.K.P.,Colorado State University
IEEE Access | Year: 2016

Systems engineering of a satellite based data communication baseline concept is presented to achieve terabit per second throughput. It uses a constellation of five Molniya satellites and one dimension electronic scanning phased array ground terminals. The result is a baseline concept that meets customer needs for internet of things (IoT) data connectivity and for consumer high data rate internet access. Molniya orbit satellites provide the benefits of available bandwidth, lack of interference with other satellite links, and less crowded orbital paths. A drawback is that they are not geostationary since they have highly elliptical orbits. This requires ground station terminals with the ability track the satellites as they pass overhead during their orbit. However, since Molniya satellites with a properly selected eccentricity pass along the same path at nearly constant elevations relative to a fixed position on the Earth, simple and low-cost single axis scanning antennas can be used for the consumer ground terminal. This is a distinct advantage compared with competing low earth orbit constellations. The proposed solution leverages advances in semiconductor technology and low-cost antenna laminate substrate materials for an affordable phased array tracking ground terminal antenna. This paper presents link budget trade studies, system concept, orbital dynamics simulation results, and ground station component trade study. © 2013 IEEE.

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