Browse Definitions :
Definition

satellite constellation (satellite swarm)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A satellite constellation, also called a satellite swarm, is a system of satellites that work together to achieve a single purpose. For some purposes, a single satellite is fine. However, where constant contact with a point on the globe or instant global communication is required, a network of satellites may be needed to avoid latency and breaks in communication. Depending upon how high above Earth the satellite orbits, breaks can happen if a single communication point as it goes over the horizon and the planet blocks the signal. To ensure that a satellite for a given purpose is in contact at all times requires, more satellites must be deployed in orbit.

Most communications satellite constellations are geosynchronous, which means they are parked in an orbit above the equator at an altitude synchronized with the rotation of the earth below. Although the satellites appear to reside in the same location in the sky at all times, there is really a round-trip delay of a bit more than a half-second, and this latency can cause frustration for those trying to communicate in real time. Deploying multiple satellites to overlap coverage can prevent latency.

In December of 2016, NASA launched a constellation of micro-satellites from an airliner. The constellation, which is called the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, measures surface winds at the center of tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons. Other uses for satellite constellations include telecommunications, tracking and location awareness systems, government and military monitoring and espionage. Examples include direct broadcast satellite (DBS) systems, Global Positioning Systems (GPS'), the Russian Federation's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and satellite-based Lidar.

Satellite constellations are also being used for broadband internet and satellite phone and cellular phone networks. Although the performance doesn't yet match that of contemporary landlines, in situations where satellite-based networking may be the only option for those without access to terrestrial wired or wireless services, the compromises involved can be more than tolerable.

This was last updated in March 2017

Continue Reading About satellite constellation (satellite swarm)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • quantum key distribution (QKD)

    Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a secure communication method for exchanging encryption keys only known between shared parties.

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

SearchStorage

  • logical unit number (LUN)

    A logical unit number (LUN) is a unique identifier for designating an individual or collection of physical or virtual storage ...

  • NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF)

    NVMe over Fabrics, also known as NVMe-oF and non-volatile memory express over fabrics, is a protocol specification designed to ...

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

Close