Integrated Processors are being fitted on new Satellite designs to provide communications flexibility for present and future applications. This flexibility allows configurable antenna beams and variable bandwidth channels to be selected. Advanced techniques are required to command and control these Integrated Processors.
The standard telecommand and telemetry link cannot deal with the speed or the amount of data needed for this control. Thus the Generic Payload Control System is used via an RF link in the ground station to provide a high speed link with a DVB-S modem to send this advanced commanding to configure the Payload, in a time frame consistent with the business need of a Customer’s communications.
The Payload Control System in the Ground Segment is the necessary other half of the Satellite system to be able to fully control the Next Generation Integrated Processors as fitted to Alphasat and for future spacecraft. Conventional channel configuring techniques are not suitable for these Satellites. Thus, the PCS will be designed to control the Payload configurations to enable the full potential of the Payload configurations to be used.
Although these Satellites contain Next Generation Processors, there is a need for the existing Ground infrastructure to be utilised as much as possible. The PCS design will allow the use of existing Ground Station assets as well as incorporating the new features that give the Integrated Processor fitted Satellites the fully configurable options.
As Satellite design complexity increases, so could the operational procedures and so also could the operator interfaces. The PCS design will be developed with support from Satellite Users with operational experience to ensure the design of an operator interface that is intuitive, and usable within a busy Operations Control Centre.
A simple Payload Simulator and a Ground Station Facilities simulator will be included in the design to support the development and provide a self test and training facility.