Satellite Technology Past, Present Future

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					Satellite Technology:
Past, Present & Future

Rich Page
GBA 576 Project
Carl Rebman
Satellite Technology Outline

 How the technology works
 The history of the technology
 Major uses
 Future uses
 Problems and challenges
 Conclusions
How Satellite Technology Works
   Works using VHF (very high frequency) waves, much
    like microwave transmission does.
   Unlike microwave transmission, satellite technology
    doesn’t have to be line of sight.
   Works using a combination of satellites in space and
    earth stations.
   3 main types of satellites:
       Geosynchronous – 22,300 miles (3 can cover earth)
       Inclined orbit – slight angle over equator – more room.
       Low orbit – 400 to 1000 miles high, used for data comm
   Satellites use transponders to send and receive the
    uplink and the downlink. Separate frequencies are
    used to avoid confusion.
   High cost savings over land based communication
    when expansion needed to other areas needed.
History of Satellite Technology

   1945 - conceived by Arthur C. Clarke’s article
    about extra terrestrial relays. First true vision.
   1957 - his dream became reality with launch of
    the first satellite, Sputnik 1 into space by Russia.
   1958 - USA’s launched their first – called SCORE.
   1960 - Tiros 1, first weather satellite launched.
   1962 - Telstar 1 launched, first one capable of
    transmitting TV programs live (Elvis concert).
   1965 - First truly global satellite launched, called
    Intelsat 1. Intelsat also formed to help develop
    and spread satellite usage and technology.
History of Satellite Technology

   1969 – first global network set of satellites
    completed, just days before moon landing.
   1972 – First truly domestic satellite launched –
    Anik 1 by Canada. USA leased parts of it first.
   1976 – 120 transponders on satellites had now
    become available over the USA.
   1980’s – Adoption of technology by businesses.
   1990’s – Smaller mobile earth station technology
    launched. Global Positioning satellites launched.
   2000 onward – Future applications like satellite
    radio, satellite phones and satellite internet begin
    to appear.
Current Uses of Satellites
   Satellite TV – one of the most prominent uses of
    satellite technologies - began in 1962. Allowed
    for live transmission of pictures across the world.
    Now evolved into the DIRECTV system, who are
    the current industry leaders.
   GPS systems – very useful – set of satellites are
    used to pinpoint your exact location anywhere in
    the world. Many uses, from business logistics to
    911 emergency or roadside assistance.
   Weather forecasting/satellite imagery – changed
    peoples perceptions of the world forever. Allowed
    for greater accuracy of weather forecasting and
    earth monitoring (rainforest disappearance etc).
Future Uses of Satellites
   Satellite phones – slowly beginning to catch on,
    allows users on remote places to communicate.
    Particularly useful in marine situations. Very
    expensive to use still. GlobalStar major player.
   Satellite radio – becoming very popular, allows
    users to listen to any type of radio they want,
    anywhere in continental USA. Usually commercial
    free. Requires additional receivers. Sirius and XM
    Radio seem to be very successful so far.
   Satellite Internet – similar to satellite phones, it
    allows users to access the internet from areas
    that traditional dial up or broadband methods
    don’t allow, like at sea. Slower than broadband
    speeds, but slightly faster than dial up.
Problems & Failures
   The recent case of Teledesic perfectly illustrates the
    problems that satellite technology faces. A multi
    billion project, backed by Motorola and Bill Gates,
    they planned to build a broadband network of 840
    satellites (more than currently exist!). This plan to
    ‘take over the world’ recently collapsed due to a
    lack of organization and launch program efforts.
   Gaining the high levels of funding needed is an
    another issue – many satellite related companies
    have already been through bankruptcy, like Iridium
    and GlobalStar.
   Latency delays are problematic, particularly when
    communication needs to be instant. Maintenance
    and malfunction issues are also problematic due to
    the fact the satellites are so remote, not like
    traditional communications. These problems are
    likely to remain for the foreseeable future.
   There is no doubt that satellite technologies have
    forever changed the world in a positive sense.
    Imagine a world without satellite TV or accurate
    weather forecasting!
   The possibilities of satellite technology seem to
    be unlimited – surely its not unrealistic to think
    that we will soon, through satellites, be able to
    wirelessly link our laptops to the internet from
    any place in the world, no matter how remote.
   As we have seen though many problems are
    inherent with the technology, and it will be
    important to learn from the mistakes made by
    such ventures like Teledesic.