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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 7

AeroAstro Annual 1

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