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It’s Coming — A Paradigm Shift

COMMUNICATION SATELLITE DESIGN by Eytan Modiano

Most existing communications

satellites

were

designed for voice and

Nowadays, we take the availability of worldwide communica-

video transfer and have a

tion for granted; communication satellites bring us live

difficult time handling the

coverage of events from around the world and undersea fiber-

unique demands of Internet

optic cables are used to provide global telephony service.

and other emerging types of

However, as recent as the 1950s transatlantic communication

data traffic. Design of their

was limited to a few dozen voice circuits and real-time com-

successors requires a paradigm shift from current technology.

munication with much of the rest of the world was not possible. The concept of man made satellites provideing global communication coverage was first envisioned by Arthur C. Clark

in his seminal article “Voices from the Sky” (Wireless World, October, 1945). He described a satellite in synchronous orbit providing communication relay services within any two points on the hemisphere and a constellation of three such satellites for providing global coverage. Clark argued that using a satellite in synchronous orbit would be more cost effective and provide much better coverage than alternative terrestrial communication techniques.

It’s Comin g — A Paradigm Shift in Communications Satellite Design

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