Satellite Communications and Navigation: Technologies, Markets and Applications


Note: the information below relates to the previous course but we expect the July 2022 course to be broadly similar in format. We will update this webpage as soon as we have details.

This 5-day course gives a complete introductory overview of satellite communications and navigation. The target audience is graduates and young professionals with an engineering and/or financial background and senior professionals wishing to expand their background towards satcoms systems and services.

The course has been developed by specialists from the European Space Agency (ESA) in conjunction with leading industry experts.

The course tutors are from the ESA, Thales Alenia Space, SES, Airbus, Avanti, OHB, Eutelsat, Newtec and more.

This course is supported by:

    Thales Alenia Space logo









The course investigates the technical, financial and business aspects of satellite communications, linking market requirements to technical capabilities while considering the crucial aspects of costs and financing.

The objectives of the course are to provide a complete overview of the world of satellite communications, including:

  • satcoms in the telecoms world
  • satcoms systems architecture, characteristics and performance
  • markets and business aspects of satcom systems and services
  • satcoms commercial potential and evaluating potential opportunities
  • satellite navigation systems and services

Course timetable:

Please note that the below details and speakers are subject to change

Day 1: 12:30 - 17:30
Day 2: 09:00 - 17:00
Day 3: 09:00 - 17:00 followed by evening industry presentations and networking event, drinks reception and dinner from 18:00 onwards (all included in the course fee)
Day 4: 09:00 - 17:00
Day 5: 09:00 - 14:30

Please note that all times are approximate. Timings and tutors may be subject to minor change.

1. Introductory Lectures

The course starts with a general overview of the world of satellite communications including topics such as satcoms in the telecom world, types of satellites and their missions and the interrelation between technology and markets.

This is followed by a similar general overview of navigation systems.

During the second day of the course, lectures will focus on the basic technical principles of satellite communications and of navigation systems. The following areas will be discussed:

  • Architectures

  • Transmission techniques

  • Link budget fundamentals

  • Transmission techniques and multiple access basics

A specific lecture will tackle the legal and regulatory aspects of satellite systems and services.

2. Markets and Finance

After introducing the basics of satcom and navigation systems, the course will focus on markets, services and integrated applications. The business and financial aspects of satcoms will also be discussed.

The following topics will be addressed:

  • Integrated space applications: merging space services and data

  • Current markets and market trends for satcoms

  • Current markets and market trends for navigation

  • Business case principles and basic on finances: EBITDA, IRR, RoI

3. Industry and Operator Sessions

The 3rd and 4th day of the course will be dedicated to lectures from key industry players and operators who will present their view of satellite systems, services, markets and business.

Systems, services, markets and business

1. Satcoms broadcasting systems

  • overview of broadcasting systems in satcoms (including DVB-Sx, SD, HDTV etc.)

  • broadcast services (such as Direct to Home (DTH), Satellite News Gathering (SNG), Content Distribution Networks (CDN), corporate networks and more)

  • orbital positions, frequency bands for satellite broadband

  • system architecture (hubs, terminals, mobile terminals etc.)

  • commercial offers of capacity / services, value chain, vendors, customers

  • the economics of satellite broadcast systems

2. Satellite broadband systems

  • overview of modern broadband satcom systems

  • multiple spot beam, flexibility, high thoughput satellites

  • system architectures (hubs, terminals and frequency bands)

  • capabilities and limitations, connectivity packages

  • commercial offers/price per bit, value chain, vendors, customers

  • the economics of satellite broadband systems

3. Mobile satcom systems and services

  • overview of modern mobile satcom systems

  • typical systems and services: land, maritime, aerospace

  • system architectures, terminals (SOTM, portable, transportable)

  • commercial offers, pricing strategies, value chain, vendors, customers

  • the economics of satellite broadband systems and services including procurement model analysis

4. Launchers evolution and impact on the market

  • orbits and launchers introduction

  • launchers - principles and technologies

  • launchers - evolution

  • impact of launchers evolution on the markets

Satellite and Ground Segment Architecture and Technologies

Industry lectures will focus on the space and ground segment architectures and technologies. This part of the course will provide a snapshot of different communication satellites architectures and related technologies, with a particular focus on current European space industry examples.

1. Satcoms Terminals and Ground Segment

  • introduction: architecture of a satellite hub and satellite terminal

  • technical and commercial aspects of bandwidth efficiency

  • role of terminal in the market development

  • relation between satcom terminals and operators business models

  • correlation between terminal price/performance and market growth

  • terminal on the move (transportable and mobile)

  • terminal for broadcast (triple play terminals)

  • current capabilities of terminals

  • joint satellite/terrestrial terminals

  • cellular backhaul

  • terminal evolution and future trends

2. Anatomy of a large GEO mobile satcom satellite

The large Alphasat telecommunication satellite will be described in details by Airbus Defense and Space. Addressing the Mobile-Satellite Service segment, this satellite delivered by Airbus Defense and Space to Inmarsat, and co-manufactured and engineered with Thales Alenia Space. It is the most sophisticated satellite manufactured in Europe with very large satellite antennas, multiple spot beams coverage, on-board transparent digital processors and high capacity platforms. The Alphabus large platform product family supporting this project will also be presented.

3. Anatomy of a small GEO satellite

A range of platform products are offered by manufacturers to their customers to match varying needs and capacity of satellite launchers. Flexibility is one of the key requirements that is also emerging for some governmental applications as well for satellite operators. OHB will illustrate the potentials of early entry platforms such as "SMALL GEO", and will illustrate current and planned capabilities including flexibility with the example of the AG-1 mission under development for Hispasat.

4. Satellite Constellations

In the recent years, satellite constellations have become an increasing trend driven by the requirements of low latency and global coverage. Thales Alenia Space will describe the implementation of current and planned constellations and discuss the main system characteristics and  performance.

4. Theory to practice: satcom business case simulation

The last part of the course will be dedicated to a business case simulation that will be carried out by the participants organised in teams. The goal of this exercise is to reach a better understanding of how operators use satcoms for their business. This exercise enables the course participants to analyse an operator's decisions and motivations as well as their business cases.

In this exercise, the participants will be assigned the role of an operator and split into 'business development teams' taking on the role of an operator looking at its business development activity. Each team will look at a (hypothetical) satellite mission, assess its costs and write a business case.

The business cases will then be evaluated by a 'company board'. The business development teams will all have a (simplified) business modeling tool and a mission sheet providing major inputs for the case to study, as well as information on satellite costs. The simulation is composed of two parts:

  • An introduction of the business case simulation will be made, during which the participants will be briefed about the objectives of this exercise, split into teams, assigned roles and provided with a mission to be analysed. An example business case will also be analyzed.

  • In the second part, participants will work on their assigned mission to build a business case to be presented to the company board in an interactive role-play session.

Programme details

Please note that the below details and speakers are subject to change



In this interactive round table, the panellist will give their views on a wide variety of questions/topics addressing the future of Satcom.

Chair: Dr Ana Bolea-Alamañac

System and Payload Manager of SAT-AIS 2B Programme
Telecommunications Satellite Programmes Department
European Space Agency (ESA)

Coordinator: Francisco Javier de Pablos Martin

Ground Segment Engineer 
European Space Agency (ESA)


Philip Haines

Head of Telecoms Business Development
European Space Agency (ESA)

Bernard Jacqué

Head of Telecom Solution Line
Thales Alenia Space

Glyn Thomas

Payload Product Manager and Senior Expert
Airbus Defence and Space

Ruy Pinto

Chief Technology Officer

Jo de Loor

VP Market Development

Gerry O’Sullivan

Executive Vice President Global TV and Video

Evening networking event

At the end of the second day, the course participants are invited to an evening networking event with speakers from industry and operators.

The networking event will include:

  1. short presentations from both industry and operators
  2. a round table Q/A session

The event will be followed by a drinks reception in our courtyard area and dinner at Rewley House to allow for informal discussions and exchanges (there is no additional fee for attendance at this event).

(Note that the syllabus and tutors listed on this webpage may be subject to revision during the ongoing course development process.)

What people say about this course



Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford certificate of attendance. This will be presented to you prior to the end of the course wherever possible.

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.


Description Costs
Standard course fee £1650.00


Fees include course materials, tuition, refreshments and lunches. The price does not include accommodation.

All courses are VAT exempt.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.

Request an invoice

If you require an invoice for your company or personal records, please complete an online application form. The Course Administrator will then email you an invoice. Payment is accepted online, by credit/debit card, or by bank transfer. Please do not send card or bank details via email.


Dr Ana Bolea-Alamañac

Director of Studies

System and Payload Manager
SAT-AIS 2B Programme
Telecommunications Satellite Programmes Department
European Space Agency (ESA)

Dr Ana Bolea-Alamañac received a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, in 1995 and a Ph.D. from SUPAERO, in Toulouse, France in 2004. From 1996 to 2001, she was with Telefonica, Madrid, Spain.

After her Ph.D. she continued her work in the area of advanced digital communication techniques with the Research and Development Department of Thales Alenia Space in Toulouse, France.

In 2005, she joined ESA’s Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, the Netherlands, as a communication system engineer in the RF payload and systems division where she focused on advanced mobile satellite communication systems design and optimization.

In January 2011, she joined the future programs division in the telecommunications directorate of ESA where she led the system engineering activities for the preparatory phase of the SAT-AIS program.

Since June 2013 she has been the system and payload senior engineer for the SAT-AIS programme in the telecommunication satellite program department of ESA.

Ana has published more than 20 papers in journals and conferences and she has contributed as co-editor of the implementation guidelines for several DVB standards.

Jean-François Boutillon

Guest Speaker

Constellation Architect
Thales Alenia Space

Jean-François BOUTILLON graduated from Ecole polytechnique and SUPELEC with a specialty in electronics and numeric communication. He has been working for Thales Alenia Space since 2004 in various positions. In 2010 he joined the Iridium project and designed the network aspects of the system. He now is technical responsible for the system part of constellation bids.

Jo de Loor

Guest Speaker

VP Market Development

Francisco Javier de Pablos Martin

Guest Speaker - round table coordinator

Ground Segment Engineer 
European Space Agency (ESA)

Javier has worked on the research and development of ground segment solutions since the start of his career. His work explores automating and integrating satellite payloads with ground assets, an area driven by the ever increasing requirements of Satcom missions.

Javier has previously held various positions in Industry, at GMV, Avanti Communications plc and Indra. Javier graduated from the Polytechnic University of Madrid with a degree in Telecommunication Engineering and also holds an MSc and an MBA.

Virginie Dominguez

Guest Speaker

Telecom Strategic Marketing Manager
Thales Alenia Space

Philip Haines

Guest Speaker

Head of Telecoms Business Development
European Space Agency (ESA)

With a university degree in Physics and Mathematics, Philip promptly went into engineering and has spent the vast majority of his working life in the satellite sector.

His time has been split between employed roles with major satellite operators (including Eutelsat, GE Americom, New Skies Satellites and Es'hailSat) and self-employment during 12 years as an over-employed consultant. His roles have spanned from hands-on engineering through operation to sales and finally general management.

In 2014 Philip accepted the new role of Head of Telecoms Business Development with the European Space Agency, where he is looking for the next round of ESA's telecommunications projects.  

Norbert Huebner

Guest Speaker

Head of Feasibility Studies Section

Downstream Business Applications Department
European Space Agency (ESA)

Bernard Jacqué

Guest Speaker

Head of Telecom Solution Line
Thales Alenia Space

Bernard Jacqué joined Thales Alenia Space in 1994, the company being at that time named Aerospatiale before being integrated first within Alcatel group in the 90’s and then within Thales group in April 2007.

During the past 20 years, Bernard Jacqué has been deeply involved in several key programs of the company, starting by the design and development of the company flagship SPACEBUS product line in the 90’s as advanced programs technical manager and actively participating to its technical development but also commercialization around the world.

Since the year 2000, he drives as satellite system chief engineer, the design and development of the telecom product line platform for constellations in the frame of both Globalstar and Skybridge programs. Those two advanced programs drive the company towards the world-recognize successes of Thales Alenia Space thanks to its ELITEBUS platform through the awarding of all new generation constellations: Globalstar II, O3b and Irridium next.

In 2004, he has been entitled Technical Director for Thales Alenia Space for the development of the largest European platform, Alphabus. The first satellite platform, used on Alphasat Satellite, has been successfully launched and deployed in orbit last July for Inmarsat.

In 2009, Bernard Jacqué overtakes more commercial responsibilities within the system business development team, mainly acting on export markets for Governmental “Milsatcom” system and satellite solutions.

From 2010 to 2013, he lead the team up to contract award in charge of the proposal for the Brazilian Governmental Satellite (SGDC) answering both for governmental communications and HTS broadband needs to reduce the digital divide in Brazil.

In 2013, Bernard Jacqué joined the Commercial Directorate and in particular the Europe and North America Sales team. He was Sales and Key Account Manager of several main international Satcom. operators in Northern America.

In beginning 2016, he has been appointed to lead a team of senior architects and telecom expert in charge of preparing through innovation the future space products for telecommunication quickly changing market.

Bernard Jacqué is an engineer graduated in 1993 from the French Aeronautical and Space Engineering High School, I.S.A.E. Sup’aero located in Toulouse.

Jean-Benoît Laithier

Guest Speaker

Manager, European Institutions and Project Sales

Jean-Benoît LAITHIER is an MBA graduate (cum laude) from EDHEC Business School (France) and is working in strategic marketing department of Thales Alenia Space. He holds a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from ENAC (Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile) and a master’s degree in microwaves / optical telecommunications from Université Paul Sabatier.

He held several positions in Aerospace & Defence and he has been working in Thales Group from 2000. During the last nine years, he specially was involved in European satellite navigation projects (EGNOS, GALILEO) and observation satellites bids.

Miguel Manteiga Bautista

Guest Speaker

Head of GNSS Evolution Programme and Strategy Division
Directorate of Navigation
European Space Agency (ESA)

Miguel Manteiga Bautista is responsible for the Navigation R&D and GNSS Galileo/EGNOS Evolutions activities, implemented through several ESA and EU Frameworks, such as the ESA GNSS Evolutions Programme (EGEP) and the Delegation Agreement with the European Union on the Implementation of Horizon 2020 – Framework Programme for Research and Innovation in Satellite Navigation.

Miguel Manteiga Bautista obtained his Bachelor and Master in Science degrees on Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Valencia in 1999. He also obtained an International Executive Master on Business Administration from the IE Business School in 2005.

After spending his early carrier in the field of development and deployment of high speed telecommunication networks in Telefonica SA, within the Telecommunications Provider sector, he moved to the European Space Agency Galileo Project Team in 2001.

Throughout the last 16 years, he has developed his career in the Galileo Programme, in a wide variety of positions covering all areas of the Galileo environment (space, ground, user, launcher, system, security and operations).

In 2015, he took over the position of Head of GNSS Evolution Programme, with the objective to pave the way to the next generation of European GNSS activities.

Sophie Morel

Guest Speaker

Legal Officer
European Space Agency (ESA)

Gerry O'Sullivan

Guest Speaker

Executive Vice President Global TV and Video

Graham Peters

Guest Speaker


UK Space

Graham Peters runs Avanti Applied Technologies, which is a business unit of the satellite operator Avanti Communications Group PLC.

He has 25 years experience working in the ICT industry operating at the intersection between business, technology and applications.

An astrophysicist by background he started his career as a satellite systems engineer at British Aerospace Space Systems where he was involved in a number of feasibility studies and bids for a variety of new satellite projects.

In 1993 he joined the business development team at VEGA Group PLC (now Telespazio) where he led the company’s involvement in European consortia developing Europe’s global navigation satellite system (to become Galileo).

In 2000 he became sales and marketing director of an electronics business providing testing and parts procurement services to the aviation and space sectors.

Following the sale of the business he joined Avanti in his current role in 2005. Since then he has led the numerous collaborative projects developing new satellite communications technologies and their application in a range of vertical markets.

Ruy Pinto

Guest Speaker

Chief Technology Officer

Ruy Pinto has been the Inmarsat Group Chief Operations Officer since December 2013, responsible for all operational functions at Inmarsat: satellite and network operations, operations engineering, customer services, group IT and partner platforms. Ruy is a member of the Inmarsat Executive Management Board.

Ruy Pinto previously held a number of positions at Inmarsat including Director of Satellite Operations and Navigation, Vice President of Satellite and Network Operations and Group Chief Technology Officer. Ruy Pinto also served on the Boards of INVSAT, Inmarsat Navigation Ventures and PT-ISAT, and was Chairman of UKSpace, the UK space industry trade association. Ruy is currently VP of Space and a board member of the Association of Defence, Security and Aerospace Companies (ADS) and a Non-Executive Director of the Space Application Catapult (SCA), established by innovateUK to foster the development of the space sector in the UK.

Ruy Pinto has a background in electronics and satellite data communications having graduated in Electronics Engineering in 1981, followed by a post-graduate degree in Digital Telecommunications Systems.

Dr Emmanuel Rammos

Director of Studies

ESA Senior Advisor Emeritus
Directorate of Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
European Space Agency (ESA)

Emmanuel studied Physics and Telecommunications Electronics at the University of Athens and obtained a Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Microwave and Electronics from the University “Pierre et Marie Curie” in Paris.

He started his career in PHILIPS - France in 1978. Since 1984 he has been a staff member of the European Space Agency (ESA). Held various positions in the Technical Directorate and in the Telecommunications and Applications Directorates. Emmanuel was nominated as ESA Senior Advisor in 2000 and served in EU instances for Galileo and in the OECD.

He has taught courses on microwaves, antennas, satcoms and space in several engineering schools and universities in France and Greece. He has written more than 20 international patents and over fifty papers on New Satellite Media, Operational use of Space Technology, Satellite Systems, Antennas and Microwaves, Optics and VLSI technology, Solid State Physics.

Glyn Thomas

Guest Speaker

Payload Product Manager and Senior Expert
Airbus Defence and Space

Glyn is a Senior Expert in flexible, processed and HTS payloads. Glyn is currently working within the payload R&D division helping to define Airbus Roadmap for advanced payloads and the supporting digital and RF equipments needed to make these payloads an industrial reality.

Glyn was deputy chief engineer for Airbus Defence and Space payload equipment's division during the period 2010 to 2014. Glyn previously managed research and development where he generated a number of key patents in the fields of flexible communications payloads.

Prior to this Glyn worked in both systems engineering and microwave design roles on the RADARSAT 2 Synthetic Aperture RADAR system. Glyn graduated from St. Andrews University with a degree in theoretical Physics and also holds a Master's degree in Microwave Solid State Physics.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please click Contact Us at the top of this page.


Although not included in the course fee, accommodation may be available at our on-site Rewley House Residential Centre. All bedrooms are en suite and decorated to a high standard, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

To check prices, availability and to book rooms please visit the Rewley House Residential Centre website.