Satellite communications for security support at G8 summit

6 June 2007

An immediate response to urgent communications needs can be offered by satellite systems in many situations. A good example is the ESA project that will be supporting the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief by enabling satellite telecommunications services during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.

The provision of a ground station and associated satellite capacity will enable the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk – THW) to connect their mobile command post in Heiligendamm to their headquarters in Bonn.

Telephone and data connectivity will be provided by a mobile satellite communications system whose core elements have been developed under an ESA ARTES 3 (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems – Multimedia Programme) project by ND SatCom GmbH and which is built upon their SkyWAN® product. SkyWAN is a satellite terminal system using small antennas, which can establish a wide-area network infrastructure for mobile or transportable applications.

The innovative concept from ND SatCom which is demonstrated with this project enables agencies like first responders, fire fighters, or crisis managers to immediately use the services of a shared ‘always-on’ satellite network whenever they require, thus optimising satellite capacity expenditures and service availability.

Shared crisis and contribution network

With support from ESA, ND SatCom – a supplier of satellite-based telecommunication solutions located in Friedrichshafen (Germany) – has designed a shared satellite system capable of immediate broadband communication in case of emergencies and otherwise able to be used for information gathering.

For the THW command post at Heiligendamm, connectivity is being provided via the HellasSat2 satellite, which has been chosen as it is part of ESA Telecom's technical assets.

The system deployed for the G8 summit has been tailored to the needs of THW and is using about 3 MHz of bandwidth on the satellite. The bandwidth is shared between two communication channels with information rates of about 2 Mbps and 0.8 Mbps.

As part of the project, ND SatCom has also implemented a lightweight, car-top transportable antenna and associated control and pointing software, called SkyRAY light.

For major events such as the G8 summit, where additional and reliable telecommunication facilities are required, it is no longer necessary to set up complex and expensive conventional infrastructure for one-time utilisation. The use of a satellite-based network does away with the need to connect to traditional terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure or radio link systems.

Command centres and mobile units are equipped with compact mobile and fixed satellite terminals which support telephony and data exchange independent of other networks.

This first application of ND SatCom’s network at the G8 Summit is based on a co-operative undertaking by ESA, ND SatCom, THW, the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR), and the supplier of fire-fighting and rescue technologies GIMAEX-Schmitz.

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