Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit 4.2

06 June 2024 | Research

Christopher Baugh


The Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit version 4 (NCAT4) combines hard data with analytics models and interactive visualisation tools for factual assessments of LEO and MEO satellite constellations.


The NCAT is an assembly of easy-to-use quantitative models to assess satellite constellations.

The NCAT focuses on the performance of LEO and MEO satellite constellations and includes detailed information about bandwidth supply and demand dynamics, market addressability and business cases. It also compares the competitive standing of the constellations with that of terrestrial networks.

It enables strategists, business and technical professionals to assess the impact of NGSO constellations via configurable user controls.

The newly released NCAT v4.2 provides enhanced insights and data visualisation capabilities, and is delivered as an online web app. 

Changes and new additions

NCAT4 processes millions of data points dynamically to drive unbiased calculations of constellations’ performance metrics and capabilities. All tools are configurable though filters, visualisation controls and user inputs.


Features include:

  • Comprehensive database: with enhanced update cycles for users to run fresh simulations effortlessly.
    • Daily updates: the number of in-orbit satellites (Starlink, SES O3B, OneWeb, etc.) and their orbital observations are updated daily and automatically.
    • Quarterly updates: enhancements to the core software and database deployed quarterly.
  • Rigorously coded algorithms: driving factual analytics and visualizations.
  • Point-and-click interactivity: through interactive maps and controls (layers, filters, buttons and settings) users zoom in/out, click to set user-terminal locations and control dynamic calculations and visualizations.
  • Multi-orbit, multi-band analysis: simulations are configurable for a combination of shells from one or multiple systems, driving calculations concurrently for thousands of satellites.
  • Dynamic, animated visualisations: users visualise propagating conditions in real time including satellites position, footprint, visible satellites, antenna look angles, link latency variations, supply and demand heatmaps, etc.
  • Space-time controls: NCAT4 allows real-time and accelerated time-lapse analysis globally, regionally (user-defined) or locally for over 200 countries and territories.
    • Simulations can be accelerated up to 300 times, allowing toolkit users to run an entire day of constellation performance in less than 5 minutes. 
  • Hexagonal ground grid: NCAT4 introduced a dynamic hex-grid with country-level precision configurable down to city-size resolution (~9 km cell radius, a 40X improvement in precision over previous versions).


  • Boosted IP throughput computations: The system computes link-budget throughput analysis concurrently on all user and gateway beams for combinations of gateway and user-terminal look angles.
  • Demand-driven supply: via selectable supply fairness criteria, NCAT4 simulates reconfigurations of steerable beam capacity to best meet changing demand conditions.
  • Upgraded mobility tool: the toolkit is linked to daily information sources* of commercial flights for the assessment of in-flight connectivity (IFC) supply/demand dynamics (tens of thousands of flight routes, airlines and airports).
  • Downloadable datasets: simulations produce vast amounts of output data, downloadable in tabular CSV format for further processing outside the NCAT platform:
    • Charts data, Monte Carlo samples, benchmark metrics /scores, timestamped constellation shells, terrestrial grids, supply & demand heatmaps, assessment summaries, flight routes, look angle stats, beam utilization, etc.


Questions answered

  • How do current and future NGSO architectures benchmark at multiple layers including coverage, capacity, beams and satellites?
  • What is the forward and return link capacity (spectrum, bandwidth and IP throughput) per gateway/user beam, satellite and sub-constellation?
  • How can the capital cost per usable Mbps be inferred? What is the business-case sensitivity to satellite manufacture and launch cost elements?
  • Under what conditions can satcom constellations become more competitive than fiber optics to target underserved communities? How sensitive is the backhaul business case to capex and opex?
  • How to assess bandwidth supply and demand factually, based on configurable mobility and fixed broadband service plans? Where are the congestion areas and how do they shift over time?
  • What is the maximum, average and minimum number of satellites “in view” or line of sight (LoS) across all latitudes, per shell and combination of shells?
  • How does fiber latency benchmark against LEO systems and topologies, depending on POPs, use of optical inter-satellite links (OISL) and link relays?
  • What are the regulatory exclusion angles for NGSO systems to avoid interfering with GEO (GSO) systems?

Bottom line: Clients rely on a feature-rich toolbox to drive analysis of LEO and MEO satellite constellations.



Christopher Baugh

Partner, expert in space and satellite