Ensuring Spectrum for Inter-satellite Links

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Ensuring Spectrum for Inter-satellite Links

One of the agenda items for the next World Radiocommunications Conference is to define the regulatory environment of inter-satellite links in the frequency bands 11.7-12.7 GHz, 18.1-18.6 GHz, 18.8-20.2 GHz and 27.5-30 GHz. In fact, some of these applications are being developed already now, and are revolutionary for real-time data transmission.

Satellite-to-satellite links operations are much needed to facilitate enhanced services, such as real- time offloading of the earth imaging and internet-of-things traffic from the low-earth satellite constellations. They will also enable a more efficient use of existing FSS spectrum, offering fast implementation via existing assets.

Both for large-scale space stations such as the International Space Station and for small, micro and nano satellites, the capacity to transmit and receive data is essential. All these systems need to send data to the earth or to other terminal locations via satellite efficiently and quickly. Satellite systems, such as O3b and the upcoming O3b mPOWER in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), can efficiently support this need.

It is in the interest of the entire industry and governments to ensure the same level of protection for Geostationary (GSO) and non-Geostationary (NGSO) satellites, avoiding constraints in the context of satellite-to-satellite links and interference. Existing coordination agreements are already a very good basis, and developing the new regulation with this in mind will not be creating additional burden on administrations.

Our Position

At SES we believe that an Inter-Satellite Service (ISS) allocation together with the operations limited to the cone of coverage is the way to success. Using an ISS allocation also helps overcome different interpretations of the Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) definition. The limitation to the cone of coverage ensures that the operations will stay similar to the current ones, easing the progress of one of the most complex Agenda Items at the ITU. Additionally, this helps create a regulatory framework where interference will be avoided.

About Agenda Item 1.17

The Agenda Item 1.17 foresees finding a regulatory mechanism and define implementations steps, including the introduction of new FSS space-to-space allocations or new ISS allocations, subject to appropriate technical and operational limitations.

At the WRC-23 and the preparatory meetings, key telecommunications players will study and develop the technical and operational characteristics of different types of space stations for satellite-to-satellite transmissions in the frequency bands 11.7-12.7 GHz, 18.1-18.6 GHz, 18.8-20.2 GHz, and 27.5-30 GHz. The satellite-to-satellite links being considered include the ones between NGSO and GSO, as well as lower-altitude NGSO and higher-altitude NGSO (e.g. MEO).