European Space Agency

HTS-DBS High Throughput Satellite Data Broadcast System


The objective of the HTS-DBS project is to study the context of a possible satellite-based content distribution network system and demonstrate the key techniques required for such a product, including file transfer to caches and the cache management techniques.

Furthermore, the use cases are studied and the usage of different multi-spot beam and wideband space segment missions are considered and compared in terms of efficiency to feed content to a large network of end users.


The challenges of this project are on the study side aspects to analyse the different space segment options and compare the content distribution options to end user caches. On the demonstrator side the challenges are to define, implement and integrate a lab demonstrator of a content distribution network system for HTS satellites, which validates all key technical choices to enable a distribution network.


The product, which can be defined on the basis of this technical development, can be an essential basis for efficiently distributing all traffic which is intended to a large audience satellite multicast services and file transfer systems and can be exploited in different manners.


The foreseen techniques demonstrations are the basis for a product definition of a content distribution system for end users as well as for edge nodes of 4G or 5G base stations. The products can be designed to be supporting caching systems for existing VSAT terminals to off-load popular traffic to a multicast channel. Another possibility is to foresee a definition of a non-linear TV service with caching and video on demand (VoD) services. Many different target products can be considered using the same techniques demonstrated within this project.

System Architecture

The system considered foresees a multi-spot beam coverage of a target area as satellite system. A multi gateway distribution network is then distributing content to a large population of broadcast receivers within the multi-spot beam coverage. The return path from the end users is considered optional and the protocols are designed to be compatible with both a unicast only and an optional return path, which can be terrestrial, or satellite based. The considered protocols for the video and file distributions are based on standardised mechanisms, such as MPEG-DASH and FLUTE.

Regarding use cases, the application for end users is considered with and without return paths either over satellite or terrestrial return paths. However, the compatibility with a unicast receiver is considered mandatory also.

The following figures illustrate the two key use cases of first a local CDN caching for residential end users and a CDN reception at the edge node of a local terrestrial network, for example a terrestrial wireless base station (e.g. 4G, 5G) or a terrestrial redistribution network.

Figure 1: Content receiver at a residential home.

Figure 2: Content distribution and caching in the home environment.

Figure 3: Satellite CDN network with local node based caching with local redistribution of the content.


The considered project plan foresees the following tasks:

Task 1 – Reception scenarios and use case definition

Task 2 – Top level design and assessment

Task 3 – Proof of concept development plan

Task 4 – DBS demonstration platform implementation

Task 5 – Validation and demonstration campaign

Task 6 – Project management

The project has started July 2017 and the plan is to complete the activity by the January 2019.

Current status


The current project status is that the project has been completed and concluded successfully with a final review meeting which took place the 28th of February 2019 at ESTEC Noordwijk. The project has revised the study and simulation results for the assessment of caching system concepts for HTS satellite systems. Furthermore, the demonstrator has been installed within the ESTEC lab in Noordwijk, demonstrating the multicast file transfer to caches and the caching algorithm mechanism. Live satellite tests have also been completed by SES.

Status date

Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 12:19