Satellite Communications

Key information

Start date: 25 April 2022

Attendance dates:

April 2022: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

Time commitment: 5 days


Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

Contact details:


This popular and intensive course will provide you with an in-depth background of satellite communication techniques, modern satellite multiple access, modulation and coding schemes, as well as providing an update on key emerging technologies and future systems.

    Over the past few years, delegates have benefited from working in the project groups. The project presentations on the last day are always one of the course highlights!

    We are planning to run this course face to face with some project work taking place in the evenings. 

    Who is this course for?

    This course is ideal for engineers practising within the satellite communications field or for those in allied fields requiring an update in this area.

    The project presentation is a very good exercise for team building… I appreciate all staff’s sincere efforts and contributions… A very enjoyable course, held at a very nice facility… Generally a very good course that provides quite a comprehensive and detailed introduction... Would strongly recommend to others.

    Comment from previous student

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, you will be have knowledge of:

    • Link budgets and planning
    • Modulation, coding and multiple access
    • Digital audio/video broadcasting
    • Satellite personal communication systems
    • Satellite networking
    • Plus a good all round idea of current and emerging systems and technologies for the future.

    Because the course also gives emphasis to the theoretical aspects of the subject you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the field. Consequently you will be better placed to apply your knowledge to the workplace.

    Course content

    Please note that we reserve the right to alter the syllabus. Any major changes will be notified to delegates before the course starts.

    9am - 10:30am - Review of satellite systems: State of the art today
    Professor B G Evans

    11am - 12:30pm - System planning and link budgets part one
    Professor B G Evans

    • Basic transmission theory, FSL, antenna theory, gain, radiation patter, eirp, satellite look angles and ranges.
    • Noise sources, noise temp, noise figure, sky noise G/T ratio and calculation C/N for up-path and down-path.
    • Intermodulation, back-off, interference and C/I calculation.
    • Effects of rain for FSS and multipath shadowing for MSS systems - calculation of margins.
    • Link budget with overall C/N and availability.
    • Meaning of QoS.
    • Differences between GEO and non-GEO link budgets.
    • Digital modulation PSK types and choice.
    • Eb/No, BER coherent differential etc. modems, filtering and bandwidth calculation.
    • FEC coding, code rates, code types.
    • Error coding in trading off power and bandwidth - power and bandwidth limits.
    • Relationship Eb/No with C/No and system QoS requirements.
    • Examples of link budget planning for desired QoS/availability.

    1:30pm - 3pm - Modulation and modems in satellite comms
    Dr Benga Awoseyila​​​​​

    Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) in satellite systems. OFDM principles and practical applications in satellite communications systems.

    3:30pm - 5pm - Basic coding for satellite communications
    Dr Benga Awoseyila​​​​​

    Review of the standard modulation formats (PSK, QAM) and introduction to variations used in satellite systems, such as OQPSK, MPSK, APSK. Introduction to Turbo Codes and Low Density Parity Check Codes (LDPC).

    5:30pm - 6:45pm - Introduction to team projects
    Dr Benga Awoseyila​​​​​ and Professor Barry Evans

    9am - 10:30am - System planning and link budgets part two
    Professor B G Evans

    11am - 12:30pm - Service provisioning and quality for digital systems
    Professor B G Evans

    1:30pm - 3pm - Multiple access
    Dr Benga Awoseyila​​​​​

    Review of FDMA, TDMA and CDMA in a fixed satellite network and MF-TDMA. Random access schemes ALOHA and CSMA. CDMA operation in mobile satellite systems-improved random access systems for VSAT’s.

    3:30pm - 5pm - Advanced air interfaces for sat comms
    Dr Benga Awoseyila​​​​​

    Review of the standard modulation formats (PSK, QAM) and introduction to variations used in satellite systems, such as OQPSK, MPSK, APSK. Introduction to Turbo Codes and Low Density Parity Check Codes (LDPC). Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) in satellite systems. OFDM principles and practical applications in satellite communications systems.

    5:15pm - 5:30pm - Team projects
    Professor Barry Evans and Dr Benga Awoseyila

    9am - 10:30am - Introduction to satellite networking
    Professor Zhili Sun

    • Radio regulations, ITU-R/T, IFRB
    • Frequencies
    • Interference management
    • Space and ground segment components
    • Earth stations
    • Bus and payloads
    • Antennas and coverage
    • Transparent and non-transparent transponders
    • FSS, MSS, BSS applications areas and examples with state-of-the-art systems.
    • GEO, HEO, LEO and hybrid orbits dynamics
    • Echoes control and effect on services: speech, vision, data, and multimedia
    • Satellite networking: SCPC, MCPC, and multiple access review
    • FDMA, TDMA, CDMA, RA, and where used
    • Traffic routing in single and multi beam satellites
    • Satellites versus other medium and where applicable.
    • Control and operation of satellite systems, earth station planning, siting and maintenance
    • ESA, NASA, NASDA role, regional and domestic systems, private organisation and consortia - the move to privatisation
    • Launcher organisations, manufacturers, operators and service providers - enterprise models
    • Review of FSS, BSS, MSS systems, state-of-the-art and current developments.

    11am - 12:30pm - Earth station engineering
    John Miller, Vodafone

    Antennas, ground station equipment and layout, types of earth station measurement – radio star, etc, managing interference, examples of equipment and operations.

    1:30pm - 3pm - Payload engineering
    Daryl Jones, Airbus Defence and Space

    Design of payloads, noise and linearity, digital processing and on board processing architectures. Examples of payloads and components, packaging and operation.

    3:30pm - 5pm - VSat and BB access (inc RCS2)
    Dr Simon Watts

    Review of VSAT – pros and cons. Structure of VSAT networks - star/mesh traffic types and description. Choice and comparison of multiple access system - design for efficiency. Capacity, throughput analysis protocols and network interfaces. VSAT system design drivers. Regulatory and licensing aspects. DVB-RCS operation with VSAT’s.

    5:15pm - 5:30pm - Team projects
    Professor Barry Evans and Dr Benga Awoseyila

    9am - 10:30am - High through input satellites
    Professor B G Evans

    Use of Ka band and above with multibeam satellites and frequency re-use. Payload and antenna designs, interference management. Ground system gateways with diversity. Beam hopping and resource management. Examples at Q/V/W bands and optical.

    11am - 12:30pm - Mobile satellite systems
    Dr Ammar Khan, Inmarsat

    Review of principles of mobile satellite systems-Inmarsat, Thuraya, ACES. Constellations- Iridium. Globalstar and orbits. Standards ITU, ESTI, GMR, DVB-SH, SDR, etc. Markets and operations.

    1:30pm - 3pm - Digital video applications
    Mike Walsh, Methera Global

    Review of MPEG and source coding for video. DVB- S2 –RCS2 channel coding and modulation. ACM and enhanced performance. Operation of video systems via satellite. Satellite radio systems SDR and SDAB. DMB and SDMB—architecture with gap fillers S-UMTS. DVB-SH and new developments in satellite DVB for mobiles.

    3:30pm - 5:30pm - Regulation for satellite comms
    Mark Posen, RPC

    Frequency assignments and limitations, work of ITU committees in fixed mobile and broadcast areas. Regulating interference, satellite networks and earth station coordination. Operation of the regulatory regime.

    5:15pm - 5:30pm - Team projects
    Professor Barry Evans

    7:30pm - Course dinner

    9am - 10:30am - Project presentations
    Professor Barry Evans and Dr Paul Thompson

    11am - 12:30pm - Military satellite systems
    Dr Phil Wade

    Review of the requirements of military satellite systems and frequency bands, modulation, coding and multiple access. Security and anti-jamming, nulling techniques. Examples from current practice.

    1:30pm - 3pm - Small satellite technology and SSTL
    Dr Alex Da Silva Curiel

    Review of micro, mini and nano satellites. Constellations and uses. Manufacture of small satellites and launches. Applications in communications and Earth resources.

    2:45pm - 3:30pm - Future of satellite communications
    Professor Barry Evans

    Update on current innovations and new systems proposals, standards issues and technology developments that shape satellite communications for the next 10 years.

    Learning and teaching methods

    Learning and teaching methods include the following:

    • Lectures to provide the fundamental knowledge
    • Class discussion to encourage interaction and participation.


    There is no assessment for those who take this as an individual short course.

    Course leader

    Barry Evans profile image

    Professor Barry Evans

    Professor-Information Systems Engineering

    Entry requirements

    There are no prerequisites required to do this course.

    Recognition of prior learning

    This course will require an undergraduate degree level of understanding of telecommunications systems.

    Fees and funding

    Price per person:


    IET members: Early bird rate*


    IET members: Standard rate


    Non IET members: Early bird rate*


    Non IET members: Standard rate

    * Early bird rate available up to one month before the course start date

    What these fees include

    For the face to face course: Lunch, refreshments and course notes which will be provided in electronic format on Dropbox or similar.


    How to apply

    Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer on our online store.

    Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

    Payments will be accepted subject to availability. If making payment by credit card, please forward the transaction receipt by email to Barbara Steel.

    Register your interest

    Terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood our privacy notice.

    • Cancellations notified in writing ten working days before the event; we charge a cancellation fee of 35 per cent of the standard rate. If we have already received payment we refund 65 per cent of the full fee.
    • Cancellations within 10 working days before the event; We charge these at the full rate and do not give refunds.
    • If no written notice of cancellation is received, no refund can be made.
    • The University of Surrey reserves the right to cancel any event. In this case, the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged. Details of event changes or cancellations are available by phoning +44 (0)1483 686040.
    • Delegates can make a provisional registration for a course by telephone or email. However bookings are only acknowledged formally once payment has been received.
    • Substitutions from the same company may be made following consultation with the Continuing Education Manager.
    • The University reserves the right to cancel any course on the grounds of insufficient numbers or for other reasons beyond our control. In this case the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged.
    • Registrations cannot be accepted without a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.
    • Proof of payment.
    • Registrations must come with a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.


    This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.