European Space Agency

Next Generation High Data Rate Trunking Systems


"Satellite trunking" refers to a wide range of services and usages from mobile backhaul to IP trunking. Customarily these services are provided by GEO satellites in C, Ku and more recently Ka-bands. However, the successful development of the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation O3B and its successor O3B mPower triggered an interest for constellations in non-geostationary orbits. Global coverage and low latency are undeniable assets that predict that future generations of high data rate trunking systems will be based on LEO or MEO constellations.

The first objective of the project is to review the satellite trunking markets so as to identify the usages and their trends, to forecast the size of these markets and their specificities by 2025 and thus be able to define the technical requirements of a future system.

The second objective consists, after having made the relevant trade-offs, of designing satellite systems able to respond competitively to the requirements of these trunking services. The development and exploitation of these systems will have to use innovative techniques and technologies to offer competitive solutions.

The last objective is to establish, after an analysis of the existing gaps, the technological roadmaps enabling the European and Canadian industry to propose attractive and competitive solutions by a 2025 timeframe


The key challenges of the project are :

  • a good identification of the service requirements and their trends and the possible impacts in the architecture of the systems.
  • a right definition of system architecture and in particular the perfect match between the needs and the resources of the systems.
  • the relevant choice of new technologies to make the difference with the technologies brought by competitors in the United States


Compared with GEO satellites, LEO/MEO constellations provide a true global coverage (incl. polar regions) with:

  • a low latency
  • low energy link budget
  • small satellites manufactured in series.



System Architecture

The project proposes the design and optimization of two systems:

  • a LEO constellation
  • a MEO constellation.


The project is organized in four tasks that follow one another in time.

The first activity (Task 1) is the market review et definition of the requirements. The second task is the identification of relevant system architecture and technologies. A formal review chooses the most promising architectures to study in the next task.

Task 3 is a detailed system design and the recognition of the key technologies. This activity is carried out in parallel by two teams, each team being in charge of one of the two architectures.

Task 4 includes the gap analysis and the establishment of the recommended roadmaps. 

Current status

As for today (January 2019) Task 1 is completed and Task 2 is on-going.

Status date

Friday, March 15, 2019 - 12:07