How Ground-Segment-as-a-Service supports next-generation satellite communication

Explore the central role of ground station antennas in satellite communications and how Ground Segment-as-Service (GSaaS) is transforming public and private access and powering innovation.

Observatory antenna in the sunset representing GSaaS technology

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Ground station antennas are the cornerstone of contemporary satellite communications, essential for the exchange of data between Earth and the orbiting technology above. They not only enable the reliable flow of information but also enable the tracking of satellites, a task critical to the modern digital ecosystem.

In every industry, from defense to oil and gas to environmental to shipping and many more, ground station antenna networks and new technologies are leading to faster data transfer, and improved resilience.

In this article, we’ll explore the central role of ground station antennas in satellite communications and how the Ground Segment-as-Service (GSaaS) model is transforming public and private access and powering greater innovation.

Quick Takeaways:

Satellite technology advancements, like phased arrays, are enabling new satellite capabilities.

GSaaS models are breaking down barriers and opening up commercial, worldwide access to the use of satellite technology.

GSaaS addresses common customer concerns like signal interference, cybersecurity threats, and environmental factors .

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Ground station antennas: what they are and what they do for satellite communications

Ground station antennas act as the critical terrestrial facilities that send and receive data to and from satellites. They perform the vital function of tracking satellites across the sky, maintaining a constant and reliable link crucial for data transmission. Without ground station antennas, data collected by satellites would remain out of reach and thus unusable to people and organizations on the ground.


In recent years, there have been a number of advancements around ground station antennas that have evolved their role in how satellites function and what they’re capable of doing. This includes phased array antennas, which offer greater flexibility and support reduced latency.

Ground Segment-as-a-Service model: transforming satellite scalability and affordability

The advent of the Ground Segment-as-a-Service (GSaaS) model is a significant evolution in satellite communications, reshaping how space missions are conceived and executed. This model highlights how satellite scalability and affordability can be redefined with new ground station technology.

The GSaaS model has leveled the satellite playing field, allowing commercial entities to tap into satellite operations traditionally dominated by government and military players. This democratization has spurred a surge in innovation and expanded the commercial use of satellite technology across industries.

On-Demand Accessibility

GSaaS provides satellite operators with access to a network of ground stations on a pay-per-use basis. This eliminates the hefty upfront investment that’s traditionally associated with building and maintaining ground infrastructure, democratizing entry into satellite operations.

Scalability

As satellite constellations grow, the GSaaS model allows satellite operators to scale their ground station usage up or down without the constraints of physical infrastructure. This flexibility is critical in an industry where operational needs can fluctuate rapidly.

Reduced transmission delay

By utilizing a distributed network of antennas, the GSaaS model ensures data can be downlinked at the nearest point to its end-use, significantly reducing latency and allowing for quicker data availability.

Global collaboration

This model fosters a collaborative environment where infrastructure is shared among various entities, promoting a more interconnected and efficient global satellite operation framework.

The GSaaS model streamlines the process of sending and receiving satellite data and introduces a level of operational agility previously unattainable. As this service-oriented approach gains traction, it paves the way for more innovative, inclusive, and flexible satellite missions, propelling the industry towards a future where space becomes a domain accessible to all.

Changing how data is delivered

Ground station operations are integral to the space communication network, yet they face unique challenges that can sometimes impede performance. Recognizing and addressing these hurdles is crucial for the seamless operation of satellites and the critical data they provide.

End users in agriculture, public utilities, fleet and logistics management, oil and gas, government, environmental, shipping and many other industries rely on getting their data as quickly as possible for critical decision making, and Viasat is strategically positioned to meet these demands. Real-time satellite-to-satellite transmission is under development to provide a virtually zero download delay environment for telemetry, tracking and control systems and payload data via LEO-to-GEO satellite link. Viasat is innovating Real-Time Earth capabilities that meets the demand of various industry needs, including:

Fleet management

Fleet and logistics management are more important to our global economy than ever before. By providing a real-time, automated network, Viasat is able to support cargo tracking at sea, in port and shipping trucks on the move

Agriculture
With population growth, climate change and transportation challenges affecting agriculture in profound ways, it’s imperative for the industry to have access to critical decision-making data. These real-time data can then support things like successful crop outcomes and delivery.

Utilities infrastructure and transmission

Utility operators face complex challenges as demand fluctuates due to things like severe weather and even cyber threats. Highly secure networks like Viasat’s provide real-time access to vital data needed to operate more effectively during dynamic conditions.

Looking to the Future

As space communication becomes more integrated, responsive, and accessible, Viasat’s GSaaS capabilities are designed to support an increasingly democratized space sector so commercial ventures and global communications can continue to flourish.


Learn more here about Viasat’s turnkey Real-Time Earth (RTE) GSaaS.