Satellite Communications: Markets, Business and Technology

Course summary

Satellite Communications: Markets, Business and Technology


This course gives a complete introductory overview of satellite communications. 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, Airbus, Thales Alenia Space, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Avanti, SES, OHB and Newtec.

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

Course timetable:

Day 1 (5 July): 08:45 - 18:30
Day 2 (6 July): 09:00 - 17:30 followed by evening industry presentations and networking event, drinks reception and dinner from 18:00 onwards (all included in the course fee)
Day 3 (7 July): 09:00 - 16:00

Note that all times are approximate and may be subject to minor change.

Programme details

Introduction to satellite communications

The course starts with a general overview of the world of satellite communications including such topics as the basics of communications, issues surrounding satcoms in business and the relevant financial factors involved.

Satcoms introduction - a valuable infrastructure driven by the market requirements

  • satcoms in the telecoms world
  • space applications of satcoms
  • types of satellites and their missions
  • the inter-relation between technology and markets

Satcom markets - past, present and future trends

  • how we got here
  • the satcoms market in perspective
  • current status
  • future trends - from TV to broadband and mobile

Satellite communications basics

  • satcom architectures
  • regulatory aspects and issues
  • link budget fundamentals
  • transmission techniques and multiple access basics

The business and financial aspects of satcoms

  • the value chain in the satcoms industry
  • system deployment costs basics
  • technical requirements vs. performance vs. service costs
  • financial aspects of satellite capacity and services
  • product modelling and pricing

Legal and regulatory aspects of satcoms

  • legal instruments applicable to Satcom
  • ITU
  • EU law
  • National Space legislation 

Systems, services, markets and business

This part of the course will look at satcoms systems and services, considerations of market requirements and technical capabilities and the specifics of business aspects.

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

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

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

Hybrid satellites - terrestrial systems

  • overview of hybrid satellite- terrestrial systems
  • backhauling (video, data, mobile backhauling)
  • capabilities, limitations and typical system performance
  • partners, vendors and customers
  • typical commercial system components for hybrid satellites - terrestrial systems
  • the economics of satellite hybrid systems for the satellite and the terrestrial components

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

Satellite Architecture 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.



Anatomy of a large GEO mobile satcom satellite

The 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.

Anatomy of a multibeam broadband GEO satellite

Broadband satellite networks supporting the delivery of ADS-like services, in particular in areas where equivalent terrestrial networks cannot be offered on an economical viable basis, are promoted by a number of satellite operators, including Avanti, Eutelsat, SES and Telenor in Europe, just to name a few. Thales Alenia Space will detail the implementation of such a satellite network at ground and satellite level through recent implementations.

Theory to practice: satcom business case simulation

The goal of this simulation exercise is to reach a better understanding of how operators use satcoms for their business. It will help you to analyse an operator's decisions and motivations as well as their business cases.

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:

  • On the second day of the course, 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.
  • On the third day, 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 when feedback will be given.

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).

*Details may be subject to change*




Participants who attend the full course will receive a Certificate of Attendance. The sample shown is an illustration only and the wording will reflect the course and dates attended.


A block of accommodation has been reserved at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. Accommodation is not included in the course fee.

To enquire about prices and availability of accommodation, please contact the Residential Centre and quote the course name, Satellite Communications (MBR 97839).

+44 (0)1865 270362

Please book accommodation before 23 May 2017 to avoid disappointment.


Standard course fee (excluding accommodation): £995.00


Pay immediately online by credit or debit card

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

All courses are VAT exempt.


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.

Gave 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.

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.

Geert Adams

Guest Speaker

VP of R&D Programs & Competence Centers

Geert Adams holds a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Ghent and a postgraduate degree in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Leuven.

He also successfully concluded the masterclass on Enterprise Innovations at the Vlerick Institute.

Prior to joining Newtec, he had several positions within terrestrial and telecommunication ranging from ATM researcher at Alcatel, Sales Engineer and Manager at Datax and Unisource to Product management at KPN Belgium.

Geert joined Newtec in May 2001 as Program manager for the 2Way-sat, the DVB-RCS based product .Since 2008 he holds the position of VP of R&D Programs & Competence centers. Within this function he is responsible for the R&D programs and projects of Newtec often conducted in partnership with the European Space Agency.

Mr Jérôme Battut

Guest Speaker

R&D Project Manager

Thales Alenia Space

Jérôme BATTUT received a master’s degree in engineering in 1995, with a specialization in microwave and microelectronics. He joined Thales Alenia Space in 2000, and was payload designer, then payload technical manager on several telecommunications satellites for SES-AMC, Turksat, Nilesat, Gazprom Space Systems customers. He acts now as R&D project manager, focused on telecommunications payload studies and new products developments in collaboration with French space agency (CNES).

Sami Ben-Amor

Guest Speaker

Director of Product Policy
Thales Alenia Space

After Engineering studies and a PhD in Physics, Sami BenAmor held different research and teaching positions in France and the USA.

Sami eventually left academia and joined Thales Alenia Space (then Alcatel) more than 20 years ago.

At Thales Alenia Space he held various technical positions from hardware design to system engineering to program management.

He transferred to marketing functions in the early 2000s. In that role, he moved to Asia for several years and became vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

On his return to Europe, he led the advanced project teams for the systems division for a number of years.

He presently leads the R&D and product line activities within Thales Alenia Space.

Cristiano Benzi

Guest Speaker

Director of Business Unit Video and Broadcasting, Head of PreSales, Head of Occasional Use

Cristiano Benzi is based in Paris where he is the Director of Business Unit Video and Broadcasting, Head of PreSales and Head of Occasional Use at Eutelsat, the global satellite operator.

Cristiano’s daily responsibilities span from video products definition and implementation, supporting Eutelsat customers and sales teams across the whole portfolio of video products, and assuring that the revenues of occasional use sales are met.

Cristiano is an expert in new media and in production and broadcasting technologies and during his 16 years spent within Eutelsat has held positions in network management, design and operations, marketing and product development, sales and sales support.

Prior to joining Eutelsat, Cristiano worked for RAI Radio Televisione Italiana for seven years as Senior R&D Engineer, specialising in the design of digital prototypes aimed at supporting and validating the development of the DVB set of standards.

Until 2011 Cristiano also served as the Chairman of the Italian HD Forum (HD Forum Italia), an association of TV and media companies aimed at the development of high definition broadcasting in Italy.

Dr Marco Ferrazzani

Guest Speaker

Legal Counsel and Head of the Legal Services Department


Before joining the European Space Agency (ESA) as a lawyer in 1988, Dr Marco Ferrazzani worked as an Italian-qualified attorney in the Milan offices of Baker & McKenzie, representing clients in the fields of corporate law, international transactions, foreign investments and litigation.

Since October 1, 2010 Dr Ferrazzani has been Legal Counsel to ESA as well as Head of the Legal Services Department.

In this capacity, he advises on multilateral discussions, drafts proposals for Member States’ decisions on space programs and supports cooperation with other space agencies, international organizations as well as the governments and institutions of states outside of ESA. He also provides a full range of legal services to the Agency particularly in matters of both public and private law, working on the legal and programmatic aspects of space programs, contributing to the development of ESA policy and participating in the negotiations of international agreements.

Dr Ferrazzani has represented ESA at a number of international conferences and at the UNCOPUOS Legal Sub-committee. He is also regularly invited as a guest lecturer on university courses on international space law. Furthermore, his articles have been published in several law and policy journals.

A graduate with a law degree cum laude from the University of Naples, Italy, Dr Ferrazzani received his university’s prize for best doctoral thesis for his research on international and comparative law. Following this, he undertook postgraduate study in the United States at Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, as well as at the University of Salzburg, Austria focusing on international relations and comparative law.

Dr Ferrazzani is a Board Member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) and is also a member of the French Society of International Law (Société française pour le droit international) and the International Institute of Common Goods Research (Institut International pour la Recherche sur les Biens Communs).

Nathalie Font

Guest Speaker

Market Intelligence Manager
Thales Alenia Space

Nathalie Font received a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering with a specialisation in Space Communication Systems from Telecom Bretagne (French Telecommunication Engineering School) in 2007.

She started her career at Thales Alenia Space working in the Telecommunication Payload Department where she worked on innovative and flexible payloads for commercial and governmental applications. She was responsible for payload design and equipment specification of various development programmes and proposals and she specialised in digital processor-based and multibeam payloads.

In 2013, she joined the telecommunication product line management team which is responsible for overall telecommunication product policy and is now in charge of market intelligence. In this role, she deals with all components of the satellite industry: customer needs, market evolution, technological development, launcher landscape evolution, regulation, etc., and also defines product evolution priorities, cost and schedule objectives.

Michele Franci

Guest Speaker

Chief Technology Officer


As a member of the Executive Management Team, Michele drives and delivers engineering
excellence and innovation, both within Inmarsat and the community of development
partners, enabling Inmarsat to further its position as the global industry leader and pioneer
of mobile satellite communications.

Leading the CTO organization Michele ensures the industry leadership through space and
ground technology development, spectrum and regulatory strategy, and supports short- and
long-term revenue generation through delivery of market driven product and service
developments, across Inmarsat’s business.

In his regulatory and market access activities, Franci’s focus spans the policy and regulatory
framework, securing spectrum and orbit resources, influencing the processes for the
adoption of international regulations and obtaining the necessary authorisations to access
national markets for Inmarsat services.

Prior to joining Inmarsat, Michele was SVP for Planning and Procurement at SES where he
was responsible for the SES fleet management, mission design and development, satellite
and launcher procurement and risk management.
Michele brings more than 25 years experience in the satellite communications industry,
including overseeing over 25 launch campaigns, with roles at Arianespace, Fokker Space,
and ESTEC.

Michele holds a Masters degree in Aeronautical engineering specialising in aerospace from
the Politecnico di Milano.


Chris Grogan

Guest Speaker

Senior Vice President of Customer Service Delivery

Chris Grogan is the Senior Vice President of Customer Service Delivery at SES and is responsible for the Payload and Network Operations teams who manage all customer services carried across SES’ global satellite and terrestrial networks. He has over 30 years experience in the telecommunications industry and has held a number of satellite operations and engineering roles over the last 15 years with both New Skies Satellites and SES. Mr Grogan is a member of the Board of LuxGovSat and an Executive Director of the Space Data Association.

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.  

James Hinds

Guest Speaker

Payload Products Group Manager and Eutelsat Quantum Spacecraft Project Manager
Airbus Defence and Space

James Hinds works at Airbus Defence and Space with the Comms and Navigation Product Group working on the development of payload products with a focus on the end customer's system needs.

From 2006 to 2011 James was with Astrium working on the Hylas 1 Spacecraft as project manager. There he was responsible for repeater activities in Portsmouth, antenna in Stevenage and platform / spacecraft integration in Bangalore, India.

James was spacecraft assembly, integration and test (AIT) and systems engineering manager from 1997 to 2006 at Boeing for three specific customer programs, HS376, HS601HP and BSS702.

Over a five-year period he was responsible for all engineering and verification activities associated with the payload, platform sub-systems and the launch vehicle interface. Prior to that he was a spacecraft AIT manager and the lead verification manager for the HS601HP spacecraft.

From 1989 to 1997 he worked at Matra Marconi Space UK where he was a propulsion engineer, project control manager and payload AIT manager. James held a variety of positions, starting in propulsion and control, with nine months as Inmarsat 3 project control manager before returning to engineering project management as the Inmarsat 3 payload AIT manager.

James presented a paper on Modelling of monopropellant thruster performance degradation due to silica ingestion at the AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference in 1992.

He served on the committee as session chairman at the 19th and 20th Ka and Broadband Communications, Navigation and Earth Observation Conference and is now a AIAA communication system technical committee member.

James holds a Beng in Aeronautics and Astronautics and an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Southampton.

Jean-Benoît Laithier

Guest Speaker

Strategic Marketing

Thales Alenia Space

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.

Graham Peters

Guest Speaker

Director, Avanti Consulting

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.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please contact:
Course Administrator
Tel: +44 (0)1865 286958