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ESA selects Viasat to conduct multi-layered SATCOM study

Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company Viasat Inc. announced it was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to conduct a multi-layered Satellite Communication (SATCOM) study focused on evaluating the use cases, market segments and technical aspects of these future systems, which will be comprised of networks that span multiple orbital types including Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Low Earth Orbit (LEO), High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) and others, as well as include various frequency bands, satellite operators and network designs.

Multi-layered, hybrid networks are increasingly being explored as an enabler of enhanced communications agility and performance, as well as a provider of critical resilience to protect against potential disruptions or attacks. This new research, which will be conducted over the next year, will look to answer some fundamental questions around the future implementation and use of multi-layered networks. This includes examining the current technology trends and assessing different markets that would most benefit from multi-layered SATCOM system applications. Additionally, the research will analyze existing layered SATCOM networks to evaluate the approach, benefits and limitations for those market segment applications.

The study will explore a system design that supports the full range of both current and future satellite service types, increased spectral efficiency, and interoperability. It will involve several tasks to assess the current market and technologies, develop system requirements and trade-off exercises, modelling and simulation, further analyses and provision of a future roadmap.

“We are excited to collaborate with ESA on this research project to further the collective understanding of multi-layered networks and how they can increase capability, resilience, and performance for end-users across commercial and government,” said John Reeves, managing director of Viasat UK. “As a SATCOM provider serving multiple markets, we see tremendous potential in using multi-layered space networks for different sectors and mission use cases. Our work with ESA will consider all different types of orbital satellites, networks and frequency bands and ultimately provide recommendations to guide the formation, technical needs and use of these future multi-layered networks.”

This research program is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023 and could offer UK, European and allied nations important guidance on a pathway toward developing and harnessing the potential of resilient multi-layered SATCOM capabilities. BCS Bureau

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