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Special Issue "Satellite Communication"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Satellite Missions for Earth and Planetary Exploration".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 10283

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Akram Al-Hourani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne 3000, Australia
Interests: wireless communications; signal processing; satellite and UAV communications; radar systems; the Internet-of-Things over satellite

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the increasing ubiquity of digital connectivity, our daily lives are becoming vitally dependent on swift access to the global network. No matter what business or activity we are running, having a broadband and reliable Internet access has become a necessity for modern economy. While most urbanized areas are well covered by broadband terrestrial cellular networks (4G and the upcoming 5G), the vast remote and regional areas still lack the adequate infrastructure for enabling digital transformation. With the recent advancement in satellite communication and the reduced launching costs, a whole paradigm is opened to fill the vast gap left by the limitations of terrestrial networks.

This Special Issue aims at bringing together multiple facets of next-generation satellite communication networks, systems and applications. In particular, it presents the recent developments in the fields of the Internet-of-Things over satellite, broadband satellite access, and the integration of next-generation terrestrial networks (5G) with satellite and UAV networks. To address these fields, the covered scope includes: shared spectrum access, antenna design, novel communication system architecture, the use of machine learning techniques for better satellite communications, intersatellite links, satellite optical links, interference mitigation, quantum key distribution, RF and electronics systems, signal processing algorithms, and satellite communication security.

Dr. Akram Al-Hourani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
In-Orbit Measurements and Analysis of Radio Interference in the UHF Amateur Radio Band from the LUME-1 Satellite
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(16), 3252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13163252 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 816
Abstract
Radio interference in the uplink makes communication to satellites in the UHF amateur radio band (430–440 MHz) challenging for any satellite application. Interference measurements and characterisation can improve the robustness and reliability of the communication system design. Most published results focus on average [...] Read more.
Radio interference in the uplink makes communication to satellites in the UHF amateur radio band (430–440 MHz) challenging for any satellite application. Interference measurements and characterisation can improve the robustness and reliability of the communication system design. Most published results focus on average power spectrum measurements and heatmaps. We apply a low complexity estimator on an SDR (Software-Defined Radio) to study the interference’s dispersion and temporal variation on-board a small satellite as an alternative. Measuring the Local Mean Envelope (LME) variability with different averaging window lengths enables the estimation of time variability of the interference. The coefficient of variation for the LME indicates how much the signals vary in time and the spread in magnitudes. In this article, theoretical analysis, simulations, and laboratory results were used to validate this measurement method. In-orbit measurements were performed on-board the LUME-1 satellite. Band-limited interference with pulsed temporal behaviour and a high coefficient of variation was detected over North America, Europe, and the Arctic, where space-tracking radars are located. Wide-band pulsed interference with high time variability was also detected over Europe. These measurements show why operators that use a communication system designed for Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) at power levels obtained from heatmaps struggle to command their satellites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
A Satellite-USV System for Persistent Observation of Mesoscale Oceanographic Phenomena
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(16), 3229; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13163229 - 14 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1002
Abstract
Traditional tools and methodologies for mesoscale observation of oceanographic phenomena are limited by under-sampling and data latency. In this article we evaluate three different scenario variants of an architecture for how heterogeneous sensor nodes can be integrated with satellite remote sensing. Independent space [...] Read more.
Traditional tools and methodologies for mesoscale observation of oceanographic phenomena are limited by under-sampling and data latency. In this article we evaluate three different scenario variants of an architecture for how heterogeneous sensor nodes can be integrated with satellite remote sensing. Independent space and marine sensing platforms are interconnected either directly or by means of a ground-based mission control center responsible for data processing, relay, and coordination of the assets. A wave-propelled unmanned surface vehicle (USV) persistently collects in situ data of the targeted phenomenon. In two variants of the architecture, a dedicated small satellite acts as a sensor node, a data processing facility and a communication node. We have used a System-of-Systems (SoS) modeling approach coupled with operational simulations in different locations on Earth, in order to support the proposed methodology and investigate quantitatively the reduction the data latency to end-users. Through a combination of field experiments and simulations we estimate how the different scenarios perform with respect to providing remote sensing data that are used to create a measurement and navigation plan for the autonomous vessel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
Optimization in VHTS Satellite System Design with Irregular Beam Coverage for Non-Uniform Traffic Distribution
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2642; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132642 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) have a pivotal role in complementing terrestrial networks to increase traffic demand. VHTS systems currently assume a uniform distribution of traffic in the service area, but in a real system, traffic demands are not uniform and are dynamic. [...] Read more.
Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) have a pivotal role in complementing terrestrial networks to increase traffic demand. VHTS systems currently assume a uniform distribution of traffic in the service area, but in a real system, traffic demands are not uniform and are dynamic. A possible solution is to use flexible payloads, but the cost of the design increases considerably. On the other hand, a fixed payload that uses irregular beam coverage depending on traffic demand allows maintaining the cost of a fixed payload while minimizing the error between offered and required capacity. This paper presents a proposal for optimizing irregular beams coverage and beam pattern, minimizing the costs per Gbps in orbit, the Normalized Coverage Error, and Offered Capacity Error per beam. We present the analysis and performance for the case study and compare it with a previous algorithm for a uniform coverage area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
Towards Federated Satellite Systems and Internet of Satellites: The Federation Deployment Control Protocol
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(5), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050982 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 989
Abstract
Presently, the Earth Observation community is demanding applications that provide low latency and high downlink capabilities. An increase in downlink contacts becomes essential to meet these new requirements. The Federated Satellite Systems concept addresses this demand by promoting satellite collaborations to share unused [...] Read more.
Presently, the Earth Observation community is demanding applications that provide low latency and high downlink capabilities. An increase in downlink contacts becomes essential to meet these new requirements. The Federated Satellite Systems concept addresses this demand by promoting satellite collaborations to share unused downlink opportunities. These collaborations are established opportunistically and temporarily, posing multiple technology challenges to be implemented in-orbit. This work contributes to the definition of the Federation Deployment Control Protocol which formalizes a mechanism to fairly establish and manage these collaborations by employing a negotiation process between the satellites. Moreover, this manuscript presents the results of a validation campaign of this protocol with three stratospheric balloons. In summary, more than 27 federations with 63.0% of throughput were established during the field campaign. Some of these federations were used to download data to the ground, and others were established to balance data storage between balloons. These federations allowed also the extension of the coverage of a ground station with a federation that relayed data through a balloon, and the achievement of a hybrid scenario with one balloon forwarding data from a ground device. The results demonstrate that the proposed protocol is functional and ready to be embedded in a CubeSat mission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
A Space-Interconnection Algorithm for Satellite Constellation Based on Spatial Grid Model
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(13), 2131; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12132131 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1324
Abstract
With the rapid development of large-scale satellite constellations and the increasing demand for rapid communication and emergency rescue using global satellite-based Internet, there have been new requirements for efficient algorithms for inter-communication between satellites. As the constellations of low-orbit satellites become larger, the [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of large-scale satellite constellations and the increasing demand for rapid communication and emergency rescue using global satellite-based Internet, there have been new requirements for efficient algorithms for inter-communication between satellites. As the constellations of low-orbit satellites become larger, the complexities of real-time inter-satellite calculation and path planning are becoming more complicated and are increasing geometrically. To address the bottlenecks in large-scale node space computing, we introduced a global space grid. Based on this grid, an efficient calculation method of spatial inter-connection between satellite constellations is proposed, according to the concept of “storage for computing” and the high computational efficiency of the spatial grid model. This strategy includes the following parts: (1) the introduction of the GeoSOT-3D global grid model into aerospace and the construction of the aerospace grid indexing BigTable; (2) a set of algorithms for satellite visibility analysis according to the visible grid look-up table and the secondary grid index; and (3) planning inter-satellite routing by querying the grid’s inherent visibility. The idea at the basis of this method is to employ the “space for time” concept to convert the high-dimensional floating operations into one-dimensional matching operations by querying the inherent “visible” attribute of the grid. In our study, we simulated thousands of satellites, discretized their trajectories into grids, and pre-calculated the visibility between grid cells to plan the routing path for the ground data transmission. The theoretical analysis and experimental verification show that the algorithm is feasible and efficient, and it can significantly improve the computational efficiency of inter-satellite connection. We hope that the method can be used in emergency communications, disaster warning, and maritime rescue, and can contribute to the next generation of satellite internet and “satellite-ground” integrated networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
Performance Modeling Framework for IoT-over-Satellite Using Shared Radio Spectrum
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(10), 1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12101666 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1893
Abstract
Delivering Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity over satellite is a promising solution for applications in remote and sparsely populated areas. These applications range from smart agriculture, logistics, asset tracking to emergency services. Using a shared radio spectrum with terrestrial services will facilitate a cost-effective and [...] Read more.
Delivering Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity over satellite is a promising solution for applications in remote and sparsely populated areas. These applications range from smart agriculture, logistics, asset tracking to emergency services. Using a shared radio spectrum with terrestrial services will facilitate a cost-effective and rapid deployment of IoT-over-Satellite since it reduces the administrative and financial hurdles of leasing a dedicated segment of the spectrum. Although IoT-over-Satellite communication provides larger service coverage, the vast number of IoT devices also increase the interference in the satellite uplink channel, and it becomes a significant challenge for the reliable performance of the IoT-over-satellite. In this paper, we propose a framework for modeling the performance of IoT-over-Satellite access systems when sharing the radio spectrum with terrestrial networks. We take into consideration several important aspects, namely; satellite orbit, terrestrial IoT devices uplink interference, atmosphere and gas absorption, and the probability of line-of-sight. The performance of the overall system is presented in terms of the uplink signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR), and thus the time-availability of the satellite link during a typical pass. We focus on low earth orbit satellites due to their potential use in IoT applications, where we evaluate the framework using actual parameters of satellites located in 300–800 km orbits. Furthermore, the paper presents a numercial model to obtain the most suitable antenna beamwidth that maximizes the link-availability of the satellite link by the simultaneous reduction in the terrestrial interference and the boosting of the underlying IoT signal of interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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Article
Using Heterogeneous Satellites for Passive Detection of Moving Aerial Target
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(7), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071150 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Passive detection of a moving aerial target is critical for intelligent surveillance. Its implementation can use signals transmitted from satellites. Nowadays, various types of satellites co-exist which can be used for passive detection. As a result, a satellite signal receiver may receive signals [...] Read more.
Passive detection of a moving aerial target is critical for intelligent surveillance. Its implementation can use signals transmitted from satellites. Nowadays, various types of satellites co-exist which can be used for passive detection. As a result, a satellite signal receiver may receive signals from multiple heterogeneous satellites, causing difficult in echo signal detection. In this paper, a passive moving aerial target detection method leveraging signals from multiple heterogeneous satellites is proposed. In the proposed method, a plurality of direct wave signals is separated in a reference channel first. Then, an adaptive filter with normalized least-mean-square (NLMS) is adopted to suppress direct-path interference (DPI) and multi-path interference (MPI) in a surveillance channel. Next, the maximum values of the cross ambiguity function (CAF) and the fourth order cyclic cumulants cross ambiguity function (FOCCCAF) correspond into each separated direct wave signal and echo signal will be utilized as the detection statistic of each distributed sensor. Finally, final detection probabilities are calculated by decision fusion based on results from distributed sensors. To evaluate the performance of the proposed method, extensive simulation studies are conducted. The corresponding simulation results show that the proposed fusion detection method can significantly improve the reliability of moving aerial target detection using multiple heterogeneous satellites. Moveover, we also show that the proposed detection method is able to significantly improve the detection performance by using multiple collaborative heterogeneous satellites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Communication)
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