Telecommunications > The future of satellite communications at millimetre wavelenghts: a new experiment based on a geostationary platform (Alphasat/TDP#5 satellite)

Project abstract

The new satellite ‘Alphasat – Aldo Paraboni’ experiment (named after the late Prof. Paraboni), supported and funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency, foresees two payloads on board of the largest European telecom satellite ever built, one for radio propagation experiments in Ka (20 GHz) and Q (40 GHz) band and the other for communication experiments in Q/V (40/50 GHz) band. The launch of the satellite (with Ariane 5) is foreseen on July 25, 2013.
Both the experiments aim at collecting useful information for the optimal design of fade countermeasure techniques to counteract the strong atmospheric impairments and to be used in the future advanced satellite systems at the highest frequency bands allowed by the current technology. In particular, the propagation experiment, for which Prof. Paraboni was acting as Principal Investigator for ASI (now substituted by Prof. Riva), foresees the collection of simultaneous attenuation and depolarization measurements in several sites in Europe, allowing to investigate the spatial correlation of atmospheric effects in satellite links. The results of the experiment will be useful for the design of satellite systems which foresee an on-board shared resource (e.g. power margin, bandwidth, coding and modulation, variable transmission rate, etc.) to be dynamically assigned to ground terminals affected by adverse propagation conditions.
The two main Italian receiving ground stations (4.2 m diameter antenna) will be installed in Tito (near Potenza) and in Spino d’Adda, the DEIB-Politecnico di Milano experimental station. The DEIB will also host the ECC-P (Experimental Control Center – Propagation) for the overall control of the Italian propagation experiment. Moreover, NASA will install at DEIB (by the end of 2013) its own receiving station to be exploited for the analysis of Italian and American propagation data concurrently collected in Spino d’Adda and in Milano.
Since the beginning of this project, Italy, with the support of the Network of Expert in Radiopropagation (NoE), promoted by ESA, spent a lot of efforts to involve in the experiment the largest possible number of European experimenters. Presently Prof. Riva is coordinating the activities of more than ten prospective European experimenters, who prepared a Handbook of Experimental Measurements (next to be published), in the frame of COST IC0802 activity.
The new Alphasat Aldo Paraboni experiment will generate important results in the field of atmospheric propagation at hyper frequencies and will be a test bed for the cooperation of different research institutes in the joint analysis of measurements collected in several European ground stations. ASI committed the propagation group at Politecnico di Milano (in cooperation with other Italian research groups) to exploit the collected data at their full potential.

Project results