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Streamlining sattelite testing

Posted: 22 Nov 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:phone signals  satellite testing  Internet protocol 

Satellites are like small relay stations in the sky. They receive signals, then amplify and transmit them back to gateway ground stations that process voice or data calls and distribute them to local telephone networks or the Internet. Several satellites pickup the same signal, preventing call interruption by handing off communication to one another through the network when phone signals are blocked by buildings or terrain. The constellation and ground network currently provide coverage to most inhabited places of the Earth, excluding only south-central Asia and central and southern Africa.

Nearing the end of their operational life, some original satellites are scheduled to be replaced starting in the third quarter of 2010, when a three-stage Soyuz rocket will lift the first six second-generation satellites into orbit.

These new satellites are designed with greater reliability, increased power and a life expectancy of 15 years–double that of the first-generation hardware. The new constellation and the upgraded ground network that will follow are intended to provide more reliable service and faster data speeds required to support next-generation Internet-protocol-based services.

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