Double-Layered Inclined Orbit Constellation for Advanced Satellite Communications Network

Kazuhiro KIMURA  Keizo INAGAKI  Yoshio KARASAWA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E80-B   No.1   pp.93-102
Publication Date: 1997/01/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Advances in Satellite Communications toward Multimedia Era)
Category: System Technology
low earth orbit,  satellite communications,  global network,  optical inter-satellite link,  double-layered constellation,  

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The link properties of double-layered constellation composed of inclined orbits for an advanced global satellite communications network connected by optical inter-satellite links (ISLs) have been evaluated. The constellation consists of lower layer satellites for mobile and personal satellite communications, and upper layer satellites for large-capacity fixed satellite communications and feeder links. Optical inter-satellite links, which can perform high-capacity communications with small terminals, are used for all inter-satellite data transmission. Although a satellite constellation using polar orbits in both layers offers the merit of simplicity in network configurations, it has disadvantages caused by the satellite consentration above high latitudes. The inclined orbit constellation offers the potential for reducing the required number of satellites improving ling properties, and enhancing the coverage in middle and low latitudes, by selecting the optimum orbital inclinations. The link properties between the satellites and terminals on the ground, optical ISL properties, and required number of satellites were evaluated for constellations using inclined orbits, and compared with those of a polar orbit constellation. Three kinds of inclined orbit constellations achieving continuous double coverage, which is a minimum requirement for future advanced satellite communications applying satellite diversity, were assumed for each layer.