The need for wideband communications in the next decade (multimedia) will find a solid support in the utilization of satellites that, due to their intrinsic operational flexibility, will allow users scattered over large, remote areas to quickly access multimedia services using small ground terminals (the “digital divide” issue). Moreover, satellite offers the possibility to quickly divert large traffic masses towards areas that have been hit – for example - by natural disasters or have been involved in terrorist attacks, war events, etc. These applications call for the use of new bands at very high frequencies (higher than 20 GHz), where there is the need for further investigations, that address both the technological issues and the propagation impairments due to the crossing of the atmosphere (that is particularly hostile at millimetre wavelengths).
To contribute to solve these problems Politecnico di Milano recently proposed a set of experiments, to be carried out in the near future, involving the use of a geostationary satellite (Alphasat/TDP#5) and offered the availability of its experimental station located in Spino d’Adda, to act as the main terminal for the activities that will involve both Italian and European researchers. The proposal has been accepted by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), that will support the project by offering the utilization of large infrastructures located in Spino d’Adda (see Figure). The satellite, that will be jointly developed by ASI, ESA (European Space Agency) and Italian manufacturing companies, will be launched in 2012.