Our day-to-day lives would be unthinkable without satellite communications. Radio and television signals, telephony and multimedia data are all transmitted to any part of the world in real time by satellite. The advantage of satellite communications over terrestrial networks is the ability to use a single satellite footprint to link Europe via the Canary Islands to South America and thus to reach geographically diverse networks and users of voice, data and video services.
Today, communications satellites are able to transmit enormous volumes of data. These satellites are not only used to transmit data from one place on the ground to another but can also establish links with other satellites to bridge greater distances between the transmitter and the receiver without any time delay. In addition to the large communications satellites with a launch weight of up to 8 tons and an electrical output of more than 10 kW, which are ideally suited for serving mass markets such as satellite television, there is growing demand for small satellites. These are the optimum answer for applications requiring a highly flexible footprint as well as for optimized scheduling and budgeting during the preparation phase in order to respond to rapid progress in communications technology and steadily growing demands, e.g. for mobile data services.
On the strength of its many decades of experience with small low-orbiting satellites, such as the SAFIR communications satellite, OHB System commenced work on the development of a satellite platform for geostationary satellite communications in 2004. In Germany, no work had been performed in this area in the previous 20 years or so. This has now changed: With the SmallGEO platform, OHB System has created the basis for small geostationary communication satellites, allowing Germany to regain the lead in satellite-based telecommunications.