SAT-SPIN: Satellite Communications via Space-Based Internet Service Providers.

Funding source: ESA - European Space Agency
Principal investigator: Prof. Symeon Chatzinotas

Duration: 09/2021 - 09/2022

Space-based Internet is defined as a system that uses a satellite constellation to provide access to reliable, low-latency, high-speed internet access points. A Space-based Internet system uses space and ground access points to communicate directly to the satellite constellation for transmission IP packets. Assuming a scenario where LEO satellites (space missions in general) can access the internet via a space-based internet provider (see Figure below), the satellite can be connected to the network permanently. This is certainly a game changer which will cause a paradigm shift from relying to on ground stations to downlink data from the LEO satellite (or send data to the satellite) once per orbit, to accessing the data whenever needed (24x7). The ability to communicate with the satellite (either downlink or uplink) on-demand through the internet can improve several important aspects, such as: i) throughput; ii) real-time tasking; iii) timeliness of data; iv) selective downlink, v) operation cost, etc. -


The main objective of SAT-SPIN project is to perform a feasibility study on using space-based internet systems for space missions. In particular, the study should firstly focus on identifying and analysing relevant characteristics of the current and near future space-based internet providers including the terminal technology used, the orbital parameters, the frequency bands, the communication protocols, the targeted customers, etc. Moreover, considering the fact that 5G services via satellite are one of the most promising use cases of the future, the analysis shall also include the possibility to access a specific LEO satellite (space mission) from a 5G network connection. Second, the project shall identify the most important space missions that can take advantage of internet (or 5G) based space services, analyse possible limitations and compare various features of a potential solution with the already existing operational communication scenarios. The spacecraft aspects shall also be covered, combining a preliminary design of the satellite’s flight segment and communication payload in the context of satellite to space-based internet provider network. Third, the relevant communication protocols to connect space mission satellites via space-based internet provider should be analyzed. Last but not least, the activity shall also focus on potential legal aspects of the RF spectrum usage and cover the next steps for the development and exploitation of any identified potential solution.


Funding Details:

  • Funding Source: European Space Agency
  • Project start date: Sept. 2021
  • Expected End date: Aug. 2022

Management Team:

Research Team:

  • Prof. Symeon Chatzinotas (SnT- SIGCOM) – Project Manager
  • Dr. Houcine Chougrani (SnT- SIGCOM) – Technical Manager
  • Dr. Oltjon Khodehli (SnT- SIGCOM)
  • Dr. Jan Thoemel (SnT- Remote Sensing)
  • Prof. Mahulena Hofmann (SnT- SES Chair)