Disaster relief: fast finding of available satellite capacity6th September 2018
Is a service portal feasible that provides European authorities with a real-time overview of available capacities of communication satellites? To answer this question, the European Space Agency ESA commissions the Bochum based space company SCISYS with a study to complement their technological PACIS studies (innovative solutions to provide secure access to commercial satcom services) and also to prepare for the EU initiative Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM). The service portal could, for example, support disaster relief or any other need for the following cases: civil protection agencies, maritime safety agencies at EU and national level.
Earth orbit is dominated by numerous communications satellites for the transmission of voice and data services, as well as television and radio programmes. Operators often have satellite capacity, which is an important resource for authorities involved in security and disaster relief. Why? Because satellite communication works even when natural disasters such as flooding disable terrestrial Internet connections and cell towers. The problem: at present, it is very difficult for authorities to locate operators with available capacity for the region in question. Unfortunately, that can take too long in extreme cases.
SCISYS examines the feasibility of a pooling-and-sharing system for available satellite capacities
Is there a faster way for authorities to find and rent available satellite capacity? That’s what the study should find out. ESA has commissioned the Bochum space company with a study for a Europe-wide pooling-and-sharing system designed to simplify access to satellite communications. “We are especially pleased to be involved in such an important project. It is also a great challenge that we are fully committed to, “explains Dr. Stephan Recher, Business Development Space of SCISYS Deutschland GmbH. “We have a lot to do over the next twelve months. “
The idea of the pooling-and-sharing system: satellite operators are announcing available capacity in a service portal. If security authorities require short-term capacity but also mid-term or permanent capacity brokerage, for example because a major event like the FIFA World Cup is facing many security forces, they could see offers at a glance, sorted by geographic region, and access the capacity more quickly.
Provided that the operators have any interest in participating in such a pooling-and-sharing system – already 5 satellite operators and service providers are involved in running PACIS projects. “As part of the feasibility study, we will therefore first contact satellite operators and service providers, organize joint workshops and discuss possibilities for cooperation,” explains Recher. “In parallel, we are preparing the design for the service portal.”
ESA appreciates specialisation of SCISYS
SCISYS was able to prevail against numerous competitors. The Bochum space company has convinced, among other things, by its high degree of specialization in software solutions.
“Our experts have the necessary know-how to set up such a complex service portal,” emphasizes Recher. The ESA also appreciates the economic independence of the company. “We know the space market with all players, but do not operate our own satellites and are not a subsidiary of any satellite operator. We therefore have a neutral technical and commercial view of the market in this project and can objectively behave towards the satellite operators.”
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