Small satellites: Possible future WRC agenda item

Logo WRC RA 2015The CEPT CPG-PTA-8 meeting in Catania, Sicily, July 21-24, discussed a number of issues related to WRC-15 among them a paper submitted by The Netherlands – Small satellites: further aspects for the development of a future agenda item.

The paper’s summary says:

Following proposals from 12 CEPT members, WRC12 decided to place the subject of nanosatellites and picosatellites on the WRC19 agenda for adoption at WRC15.

Since then a growing number of small satellites, launched year on year has been recorded, and a growing number of diverse applications has been implemented ranging from technology demonstration and research to Earth observation. The applications of these small satellites vary widely, but all of these satellites have one common need which is Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C). Providing for proper TT&C will allow positive satellite control at all times, and, when combined with ranging capability, may provide for orbit determination as well which in turn can aid in the tracking of space objects.

At this moment, the study work under the related agenda item 9, issue 9.1.8 which deals with regulatory aspects for nanosatellites and picosatellites is finished. The studies have indicated a number of difficulties in the application of the Radio Regulations. These difficulties, however, do not justify a change of Articles 9 and 11.

Considering that most bands currently used for satellite telemetry and command such as the 2200-2290MHz SRS/SOS/EESS allocation are heavily crowded, the growth in numbers of small satellites launched offers new challenges which were not faced before. Therefore, the proposal for AI 10 is to invite ITU-R in the forthcoming study period to identify additional allocations to the space operation service (SOS) within the 137MHz-960MHz range. This frequency range is particularly suitable for small satellites since it offers favourable propagation characteristics while allowing moderately complex antenna systems and antenna pointing requirements on board the satellite.

CPG-PTA-8 meeting in Catania, Sicily, July 21-24, 2015

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