The Greek company ATTISAT has just begun a new project funded by ESA Telecom, making this the first project begun by a Greek company. In October, the design review took place and specifications for the project are being reviewed.The project is to develop Ku-band receive-only planar-arrays for reception of High Power satellites. One advantage of planar arrays is that they pick up less interference from other satellites; another is their flat shape. This is especially important for Greece; there satellite dishes must have low-visibility in order to maintain attractive cityscapes.
Reducing the size to 36cm was the first way of solving this. But the ATTISAT's design makes them even more invisible by offering users the option of applying colourful decals to camouflage them against a background. Pictures of house bricks, clouds or even a housecat are being considered. Thus, the new product could be the suitable solution also in areas where restrictions exist for satellite antennas installation.
Several years ago, Greece became a cooperating partner of ESA, allowing it to submit projects and be involved in funding. Though not yet a full member state, the country would definitely benefit from satcom related activities.
Currently, mainly terrestrial networks are in use. This can be problematic as Greece has thousands of islands and a large portion of mountainous and thus more or less isolated areas, making land connections difficult to be implemented and maintained. Furthermore, the mainland experiences severe earthquakes, often disrupting or destroying terrestrial networks.
The launch in July 2003 of HELLAS-SAT, Greece's first satellite will certainly do much to resolve these issues. HELLAS-SAT is a high-powered satellite able to transmit to small antennae such as the one being developed by Attisat.
Though currently with much unused capacity, HELLAS-SAT and projects such as ATTISAT 's will help make more content available to Greek end-users. Current content is geared mainly towards non-Greek speakers and tourists. With the Olympic games beginning in Athens in 2004, this content is going to be very important, but long term satcom will require content to be Greek.