5 Things to Know About Satellite Communication

Communication is a key pillar in the society today. Before the invention of modern-day advanced communication systems, communication was limited to primitive means and could not overcome challenges and barriers of communication such as distance. Modern-day communication is facilitated by advanced satellite communication systems which facilitate exchange of information over long distances. Here are five of the most interesting facts to know about satellite communication.

Satellite communication is mediated by numerous satellites

For satellite-mediated communication to be successful, numerous satellites are involved. Although there over 2,500 satellites orbiting the earth, only 2 to 3 of them are involved in mediating a single communication. The signal from the earth-based transmitting station is called an uplink. It involves the phone sending a signal to a ground station the satellite from where the satellite transfers the signal to another appropriately located satellite which in turn sends a downlink signal to the ground-based station.

Satellite communication is affected by numerous factors

Although considered the best means of transmitting communication signals, satellite communication is affected by numerous factors, the most important of which is the weather. Satellite communication relies on a clear line of sight for signals to be effectively transmitted. Weather elements such as clear skies therefore offer the best conditions to ensure that satellite communication signals are transmitted free of interruptions. Cloudy skies on the other hand, especially rainy conditions, imply that the uplink signals, inter-satellite signals, and the downlink signals would be interfered with, therefore obstructing effective communication.

High orbit cruise speeds

Satellites traverse the earth’s orbit at incredible speeds of up to 14,000 miles per hour, orbiting the earth’s atmosphere up to 14 times in 24 hours. Although traveling at these high speeds, satellites are still able to maintain accuracy in terms of reception, processing, and transmission of signals. Also, different satellites travel in different speeds and in different directions in order to ensure a seamless network coverage that facilitates communication all over the earth’s surface.

Satellites transmit communication signals for multiple purposes

Communication satellites perform numerous functions including transmitting of audio and video signals to mediate international calls, television signals, radio signals, internet-enabling signals, weather relaying signals, and Global Positioning System (GPS) signals used for navigation. Other satellites are purposefully used for surveillance purposes in secret covert military missions.

Mediating communication between mobile and stationary stations

Whereas satellites are mobile, the success of the transmission of signals to earth depends on the target of the signals. Some satellite signals are relayed directly to stationary earth stations from where the signals are relayed to the target gadgets such as phones. On the other hand, there are receiving stations which are often on the move, such as ships. To facilitate the reception of such signals the ships are fitted with receiver and decoder stations where communication signals can be received and used instantaneously.