By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by following this link Accept & Close ›
Space Blog

Satellite simulators: training for space

In Space, timing is everything. During the commissioning and deployment of a satellite, operators have a limited time to get the system commissioned and handed over to the customer. The same is true when an anomaly occurs, such as an electrical glitch caused by exposure to radiation. Operators then have small windows of time to carry out critical work, such as rebooting subsystems, to resume normal operation of the satellite. It’s not just these significant events in a satellite’s lifetime that require a rapid operator response. Time is of the essence even for day-to-day operations. For a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite, operators only have a window of 10-15 minutes to "talk" to the satellite as it passes overhead. Twin this with the fact that it is often of vital importance to get satellite data as quickly as possible (for applications such as disaster response) and it goes without saying that those minutes must be used to full advantage. SSTL supports its customers with training to make sure ground segment operators are prepared and properly equipped to get the most out of these short time slots. The only problem is that the satellite is often out of reach, or not even built, when training and testing of the customer ground segment is required. So SSTL uses simulators to give operators the chance to conduct "dry-runs" and familiarise themselves with ground station equipment. The "virtual" experience gained from training on a simulator is invaluable to improve the speed and efficacy of the operator and allows them to gain experience of recovering non-nominal situations without the use of a "live" or in orbit asset.
SSTL-designed Mission Control software suite
Simulators are used to train operators in the use mission control software (above)
The simulators act as "dummy satellites", providing the same basic interfaces and functionality as a real satellite. The only difference being that wires replace the 700km-long wireless link that would connect the satellite to the groundstation from orbit. Whilst training helps SSTL customers operate their own satellites, they certainly don’t have to go it alone. The satellites SSTL has launched are tracked from its groundstation in Guildford, and the operations team provides backup operations day and night. It’s simple to see that simulators are invaluable in ensuring we make the most of the short windows in time we have to communicate with the satellites; and to provide the services that are now taken for granted in our daily lives. As our requirements get more complex, so do our satellites, and their corresponding simulators. Stay tuned to read about SSTL’s exciting new "Satellite in a Suitcase".





15 May 20120 Comments1 Comment

Back to Blog

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
 Security code

About This Blog

SSTL's lowdown on cost effective space technology, small satellites, space science and interplanetary exploration.

Post Archive

October 2017(1)
May 2017(1)
January 2017(2)
October 2016(3)
September 2016(1)
July 2016(1)
June 2016(1)
April 2016(1)
March 2016(4)
February 2016(3)
December 2015(2)
November 2015(3)
October 2015(3)
July 2015(1)
May 2015(0)
May 2015(1)
April 2015(1)
March 2015(2)
February 2015(2)
January 2015(2)
December 2014(1)
November 2014(2)
October 2014(2)
September 2014(1)
July 2014(2)
June 2014(3)
May 2014(1)
April 2014(1)
March 2014(1)
February 2014(2)
January 2014(2)
November 2013(3)
October 2013(2)
September 2013(2)
July 2013(3)
June 2013(2)
May 2013(2)
April 2013(4)
March 2013(1)
February 2013(3)
January 2013(5)
December 2012(6)
November 2012(5)
October 2012(4)
September 2012(4)
August 2012(1)
July 2012(6)
June 2012(1)
May 2012(2)
April 2012(5)
March 2012(3)
February 2012(3)
January 2012(1)
December 2011(1)
November 2011(4)
October 2011(5)
September 2011(4)
August 2011(3)
July 2011(4)
June 2011(6)
May 2011(3)
April 2011(1)
March 2011(3)
February 2011(2)
January 2011(3)
December 2010(2)
November 2010(1)
October 2010(2)
September 2010(4)
August 2010(4)
July 2010(2)
June 2010(2)
May 2010(2)
April 2010(4)
March 2010(4)
February 2010(4)
January 2010(3)
December 2009(2)
November 2009(5)
October 2009(2)
September 2009(6)
August 2009(4)
July 2009(3)
June 2009(1)
May 2009(2)
March 2009(2)
February 2009(5)
January 2009(2)
December 2008(3)
November 2008(6)
October 2008(5)
September 2008(3)
August 2008(5)
June 2008(1)
May 2008(3)
April 2008(5)
March 2008(1)
February 2008(1)
January 2008(3)
December 2007(3)
November 2007(6)
October 2007(3)
September 2007(3)
August 2007(1)
July 2007(1)
June 2007(2)
May 2007(2)
April 2007(1)
January 2007(3)
December 2006(1)
September 2006(1)
May 2006(2)
January 2006(1)
December 2005(7)

Show/Hide All

If you like Space Blog, why not subscribe by RSS by clicking the subscribe button, or to recieve updates by email click the subscribe by email button.

*Comments Policy
SSTL reserves the right not to publish comments if they are deemed inappropriate.