IEEE COMSOC–SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS–HELD FEBRUARY 25 2017
|March 11, 2017||Posted by COMauthor under COMSOC, CS, EDCAS, General, MTT/APS, PES||
An IEEE COMSOC chapter presentation on the topic of “Satellite communications: a survey of communications accomplishments and a look into the future” was held at DeVry University Pomona on Saturday February 25, 2017. The speaker was our current IEEE COMSOC chapter chair, Frank G Freyne PhD. A small but enthusiastic group of IEEE Foothill members came to hear how the Satellite Communications era evolved.
The concept of using orbiting satellites is of recent origin, being formulated in the early post-WWII era. Not surprisingly, their topical need originated as potential solutions to then-current very practical problems. How do we improve telephonic communication over longer distances with better reliability and lower cost? The Bell Communication Systems essentially controlled all telephonic messaging throughout the USA by law. Their constant interest was in improving the reliability and quality of service to all telephone customers. Hence, could the use of orbiting satellites with signaling repeaters on-board improve reliability? The Bell System put up the funding and the engineering expertise to prove the satellite concept.
This talk traced some of that history, from the earliest days, through the NASA successful multi-mission ATS-6 satellite in the mid 1974-1976 era, up to the present day. Since some many of the advances in electrical and electronics engineering were made to support satellite communications, these were discussed. In fact, so much of the technology for analog and digital signal processing, microwave device design, filtering, antenna fabrication, solar cell for electrical power generation, etc. was developed during this era. This presentation could be considered a Grand Tour of the 20Th Century history of Electrical Engineering. For our IEEE engineers, we noted many of these concepts and techniques in some detail.
The primary requirement for satisfying a communications satellite performance requirement could be succinctly stated as, “How do we satisfy the link budgets and obtain a satisfactory signal-to-interference-to noise ratio at the receiving ground station?” The attendee to this talk was pointed in the right direction to analyze and synthesize an answer to this top-level requirement.
As noted, these engineering communication concepts will directly carry over to the current wireless 4G-LTE and 5G requirements, design, and development era. Finally, we discussed our current international satellite efforts, and projected the future advances that are approaching the drawing board. At present, there are active satellite development efforts to provide VOIP and Internet coverage to almost every area of the globe. Not only a single satellite, but a network of satellites and ground stations to acquire scientific data are typically used. As an example of this, we discussed the use of the Tracking and Data Relay satellites to help return scientific data from the Hubble Space telescope.
This was a good IEEE Foothill meeting to get our COMSOC engineers together to start planning for future communications talks and initiatives.