Capabilities and limitations of non-GEO constellations

06 January 2022 | Research

Lluc Palerm

Perspective | PDF (13 pages)

"Today’s fast-paced environment brings unprecedented opportunities for the telecoms industry as a whole to make the most out of disruptive innovations and investments in space networks, both non-GEO and GEO."


The satellite industry is in the midst of the largest transformation since the inception of satellite communications over five decades ago. There is an interesting parallel between today’s drive for change and that of the “Space Race” era that unfolded in the late 50’s between the United States and the Soviet Union. Starting with the successful launch of Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite put into orbit in 1957, and peaking in 1969 with the landing of a Man on the Moon, this period gave birth to the satellite industry. Today, we are transiting into a new space race era, a “21st-Century Space Race” that shares common goals with the old race, space exploration and launch of artificial satellites, however, it’s taken to a much higher level. This modern Space Race involves the launch of thousands of satellites across different types of orbits, deep space exploration, space travel, asteroid mining, and -ultimately- Mars colonialization and a multi-planet civilization.

This report includes discussion of the following topics

  • An Introduction to Constellations and the 21st-Century Space Race
  • An analysis of the LEO architecure "blessing and curse"
    • Sample analysis: Starlink Sub-Constellations
    • Perspective 1: Bandwidth Supply and Demand
    • Perspective 2: Exclusion Angles for Interference Avoidance
    • Perspective 3: RPU Considerations and Direct versus Hybrid Distribution
  • LEO-GEO complementation

Capabilities and limitations of non-GEO constellations



Lluc Palerm

Research Director, expert in space and satellite