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satellite constellations

Lloyd's satellite constellations

Introduction | Background | Overview | General | References | Media | Comments?

Globalstar launches second set of second-generation satellites

Interplanetary Internet tested in space
Cisco router tested onboard disaster monitoring constellation satellite
SaVi satellite constellation simulation

One of the best sources of information about satellite networking...
more useful than most of the professional sites.

- Network Magazine, 2002.

  The mecca of satellite constellation information.
You want to know about LEOs, you've got it.

- Upside, 1996.


These pages formed an index to useful web information discussing satellite constellations. You won't gain a complete picture of what any proposed constellation is capable of, or really in-depth technical details, but you will gain an idea of what the developments in this area are, where the industry and technology is headed - and you will pick up background knowledge of satellites along the way.

The pages were maintained on an almost daily basis by Lloyd Wood during the late 1990s and early 2000s while Lloyd's PhD on satellite constellations was undertaken - and are now updated much less frequently, if at all. (Lloyd still attempts to maintain his SaVi satellite constellation visualisation software.) Caveat lector. These pages do not discuss stellar constellations beloved of night-sky watchers everywhere. This is not intended to be a guide to individual satellites in geostationary orbit. Nor is this one of those fashionable weblog things - a weblog is just a chonological most-recent-first diary where old entries are left unchanged, making less sense over time as context fades and links break, while this (when it was updated) tried to be continually useful by updating text and links when possible -- although it's really something of a cluttered mess.


so what are satellite constellations and why am I interested in them, anyway?
brief overviews of many satellite constellations by category and name. The field in a page.
general articles on satellites and related topics. To learn about satellites, begin here.
where to start if you want more information - some pointers to further reading.

Related material

Big LEO tables
a technical comparison of several of the proposed schemes, originally created as part of another doctoral thesis.
Satellite constellation visualization
simulate the various satellite constellations.
Lloyd's satellite-related papers
some serious and dull academic material on satellite constellations.


Media coverage
publicity that the press has provided for these pages; many readable articles on satellite constellations.
Comments? Corrections? Information to add? Dead links to report? Do let me know!


poster in miniature
Acrobat poster (403K)
requires Acrobat Reader
If you haven't read the background to these pages, just let me note my networking bias. I tend to think that many of these proposed constellations are... well, inelegant. They're just not as smart, as sophisticated, or as ambitious as schemes like Iridium or Teledesic from a networking viewpoint, as the satellites can't talk to each other directly via inter-satellite links, or if they can there aren't that many similar satellites to talk to. Some schemes have no on-board processing, and merely amplify the ground signals like the geostationary satellites of old. Yawn.

They're just not... interesting. Not a satellite network constellation. But then, I have a strong networking perspective.


I have no connection with any organisation operating or building any of the satellite constellation schemes mentioned here. This information is supplied in good faith, but with no warranty. Use at own risk.

I am not responsible for these local pages with related material: ATM over satellite and small satellites

Lloyd Wood (L.Wood@society.surrey.ac.uk)
this page last updated 20 July 2011