Satellite Communications: Markets, Business and Technology

Course summary

Satellite Communications: Markets, Business and Technology


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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, Thales Alenia Space, InmarsatAvantiOHB, Airbus, Eutelsat, SES 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

Click here for detailed course timetable.


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.


Accommodation may be available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, 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.


Standard course fee (excluding accommodation): £995.00


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

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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.

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.

Cristiano Benzi

Guest Speaker

Director Special Projects

Cristiano Benzi is Director Special Projects at Eutelsat, the global Satellite Operator based in Paris.

Cristiano is an expert in TV Production and broadcasting technologies and during his 19 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 has worked for 7 years as a researcher for RAI Radio Televisione Italiana, specializing in the design of future Broadcasting Systems and in supporting the development of the DVB set of Standards.

Cristiano has also served until 2011 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.

Edoardo Benzi

Guest Speaker

Operations and Mission Exploitation Manager
Directorate of Telecommunications & Integrated Application - Programmes Department
European Space Agency (ESA)

Having joined the European Space Agency (ESA) at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in 2010, Edoardo currently coordinates the team for the operations preparation and mission exploitation of the ESA Telecommunications and Integrated Application (TIA) Programs department, to support missions both on ground and in flight, including Alphasat, EDRS, Small-GEO, and SAT-AIS.

Within ESA, before taking on the current role, he provided support to the Telecommunication and Earth Observation directorates for the ground segment and operations preparation, and worked as mission study manager to support preliminary studies for future missions as part of their concurrent engineering team.

After having taught at the engineering school of the Narvik College in Norway, Edoardo started his career in spacecraft's operations at ESA Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Germany working on interplanetary missions (Cassini-Huygens, Ulysses, SMART-1). He then moved into the telecommunication satellite field, working for 8 years with Eutelsat SA in Paris to take care of its fleet operations and assist satellite procurement before joining the European Space Agency.

Edoardo graduated in aerospace engineering at the University of Rome and holds a Master in Space Sciences from the International Space University of Strasbourg. He has written several papers for journals and conferences, mostly on satellite operations and optical inter-satellite communication in-flight experience. He is supporting the CCSDS Spacecraft Monitoring & Control working group in the area of mission planning.

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.

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.  

Martin Halliwell

Guest Speaker

Chief Technology Officer

Martin Halliwell has been the Chief Technology Officer of SES since 1 May 2011. Mr Halliwell was President of SES Engineering from January 1, 2008 to April 2011. Prior to this assignment, Martin Halliwell held a position of SVP and Chief Technology Officer at SES ASTRA, where he was responsible for all engineering and operational activities.

In the course of his career at SES ASTRA, Mr Halliwell held a number of positions, including General Manager, Global Multimedia Networks, Technical Director of SES Multimedia, and Deputy to the Technical Director of SES ASTRA. Prior to joining SES, Martin Halliwell worked for Cable & Wireless and for Mercury Communications.

Mr Halliwell holds a BA in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering and an MBA specializing in External Environment and Strategic Management from the Open University. Mr. Halliwell is a member of the Boards of SES ASTRA, SES Satellite Leasing and O3B Networks and a member of the Executive Committee of SES S.A.

Bernard Jacqué

Guest Speaker

Senior Business Development Manager, Commercial & Governmental Markets, Telecommunication Business 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

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.

Alexander Schneider

Guest Speaker

Project Manager and System Engineer, OHB Systems

Alexander achieved the qualifications of Dr.-Ing. (Process Engineering) and Dipl.-Ing. (Production Engineering) from the University of Bremen.

He then started work at OHB System AG, Bremen back in 2004 and continues there to this day.

During his time at OHB System, Alexander has been involved in the following:

  1. Project Manager
    • Electra Phase B/C/D/E, Full electric propulsion geostationary platform
    • EDRS-C Phase A/B/C, Dedicated European Data Relay Satellite
    • Airbus Proposal, Tunable Vibration Absorber System for A400M aircraft
    • Study, Micro- and Nano-Technologies for Satellite Systems
    • Study, Application of Polymer Ceramic in Space Technology
  2. System Engineer
    • SGEO/HAG1 Phase A/B/C, Mechanical and Thermal responsible

Frederik Simoens

Guest Speaker

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Frederik Simoens received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Ghent University, Belgium, in 2003. From 2003 until 2008, he was with the Telecommunications and Information Processing department (TELIN) at Ghent University, where he obtained the Ph.D. degree in wireless communications. Since 2008, he has worked at Newtec, where he currently holds the position of CTO. Newtec is a manufacturer of high-end ground segment equipment for satellite communications. His research interests include satellite communications, wireless mobile communications and multi-antenna communication systems. Frederik Simoens is active in the standardization work related to DVB-S2/S2X and he is also member of the executive committee of the IEEE Benelux COM/VT Chapter. He is co-author of several patents and 50 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.

Alexander Soucek

Guest Speaker

Legal Officer
European Space Agency (ESA)

Alexander Soucek works as a legal officer for public international law and space law at the European Space Agency (ESA). He previously held the position of a programme coordinator in ESA’s Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes. In his function as a legal officer, he advises the Agency’s International Relations Committee and represents ESA at the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. He also served as the legal advisor of ESA’s Directorate for Telecommunications and Integrated Applications. He earned a master degree in law from Salzburg University, Austria, and a master’s degree in space studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. He teaches space law at universities in Europe and has published books, commentaries and articles on the subject, including “Space Law Essentials” (2015), an introduction to space law for students and practitioners.

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.

Hok Shuen Wong

Guest Speaker

Vice President – Technology Development Programmes

Hok Shuen Wong (Shuen) is Vice President of Programmes at Inmarsat, having originally joined the company in 1990.

Shuen’s current role has seen him take an executive lead on the ground programmes for key projects such as Global Xpress, as well as the Service Enablement Platform (SEP) with Cisco and the next generation of BGAN capability.

He was also responsible for implementing the significant integration and leadership of a 150+ strong engineering team in his previous position as Inmarsat’s VP of Engineering.

Other positions Shuen has held within the company include Senior Director of Global Xpress – where he helped develop, implement and execute the first Ka-band global satellite system – Director of User Terminal Development and Senior Manager of BGAN Engineering, having originally joined Inmarsat as an engineer.

Prior to joining Inmarsat, Shuen was a systems engineer at British telecom international (BTI) and previously completed a two-year fellowship at the University of Surrey where he also studied Electronic & Electrical Engineering.


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