LEO Satellite Networks

Thomas R. Henderson

Book chapter in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Telecommunications (2002), edited by John Proakis

Abstract: In this article, we survey the main system parameters for multi-satellite communications networks, highlighting features distinguished from those of geostationary satellites. We first describe various non-geostationary orbits and popular multi-satellite constellation designs at low-Earth-orbit (LEO). Next, we contrast the differing characteristics of geostationary and non-geostationary satellite systems, including link performance, tracking and link handoff issues, spectrum and interference concerns, and intersatellite communications links. Finally, we focus on networking aspects of satellite constellations, discussing various circuit-switching and packet-switching network architectures that have been proposed in the research literature.