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  • A cost-effective alternative to a fiber-optic cable

    Paper ID



    • R.J. Barnett


    British Aerospace PLC, Space and Communications Division


    United Kingdom




    A communications satellite system is proposed that is designed specifically to compete with a long-haul underwater fibre-optic cable system. This requirement drives all aspects of the system design, particularly the modulation where a high order (256-QAM) system is proposed, as currently used on terrestrial microwave systems. The use of Ku-band frequencies, small spot beams and solid-state power amplifiers, allows the required satellite performance and capacity to be achieved based on realistic and available space hardware. The low number of earth stations in the system permits considerable complexity to be moved from the space to the ground segment, thereby minimising total costs. The resulting system competes well with the cable system, having a capacity eighteen times greater than current and planned cable systems such as TAT-8, and at a comparable total system cost.