European Space Agency

SAMARA - Analysis and Definition Phase of Satellite System for Artes 10 (Phase A)


The overall objective of SAMARA Project Analysis and Definition of the Satellite System is to provide ESA and the SESAR Joint Undertaking, before the end of 2008, with a thorough Phase A analysis of satellite communications options for providing Air Traffic Communication services (ATS/AOC), and to identify the necessary subset of the overall system to support qualification of the services.

The Project will carry out a business case for the provision of services in order to propose a solution which best meets the requirements.


The satellite system will be conceived to answer the challenging requirements imposed by the provision of safety of life service. It will provide a highly reliable communication service while minimizing the cost for AES (Aeronautical Earth Station) equipment, for both operational procedures and service provision.


The ARTES 10 satellite communication will be a complementary system to the terrestrial ATS/AOC network over the European continent (ECAC), using a satellite communications standard adopted at ICAO level and valid worldwide. The satellite-based system will allow seamless operations with SESAR terrestrial communication systems and seamless integration with existing user interface equipment in the cockpit.


The main characteristics of the IRIS system base line concept are:

  • A GEOHEO constellation embarking a Payload ATM for ATS/AOC services communication. The Platforms, objects of trade-off analyses and specification, will be derived by already existing solutions and, if necessary, only sustainable adaptation of a selected platform will be considered. On the contrary, the Payload ATM will be an object of new development,.
  • The satellites, via Payload ATM, will be able to cover the ECAC area with bi-directional Ku-Band links, for serving the Ground Earth Stations (GESs), and a bi-directional L-Band link with the AESs. At the same time the ATM Payloads will be able to cover the ECAC surrounding and ORP areas with a global coverage bi-directional Ku-Band link and a global coverage bi-directional L-Band link. Trade-off analyses are foreseen during the study.
  • A suitable Ground Control Segment will be able to operate either the satellites or the ATM Payloads depending on the mission phase.

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The Project Milestones are as follows:

KOM (kick-Off Meeting) - 7th of January

SSRR (Satellite System Requirement Review) - 13th of March
Space Segment System Requirements definition including operational concept and potential ancillary payloads investigation

PDR (Preliminary Design Review) - 15th of July
Space Segment System Preliminary Design including Preliminary Cost Estimate

PRR (Preliminary Requirements Review) - 12th of December
Space and Ground Segment Design, preparation of future Work

Current status

The Final Review has been performed.

The main outcome of the SAMARA project was the preliminary definition of a satellite-based communication system specifically designed for the provisioning over the ECAC area of satellite based ATS (Air Traffic Service) and AOC (Airline Operational Communication) Air Traffic Communication services between the airspace users and the ground aeronautical entities (ANSPs and Airline Operation Centers) aligned with the SESAR implementation of the Single European Sky target concept.

The satellite system trade-offs performed during SAMARA study indicate that, in order to comply with the aeronautical safety requirements, the space segment shall be composed by at least two geostationary telecommunications satellites as baseline to ensure the ATS/AOC services coverage to the ECAC area.

The two GEOs satellites shall operate in hot redundancy and shall support simultaneously the same coverage area with the same services.

Each satellite will provide the following mission services:

  • L band Mobile link: Communication links between satellite and aircraft (uplink and downlink),
  • Ku band Fixed link: Communication links between satellite and ground stations (uplink and downlink)

The SAMARA Consortium proposed a space segment deployment strategy which consists in delivering a subset satellite system with reduced capacity with respect to the operational system. The subset will be used to qualify the services and validate the system and to be used as space segment element for the full operational capability.

The proposed subset based on a small platform has been conceived to reduce the financial effort and make viable and affordable the SAMARA Business Case.

The SAMARA deployment strategy, fully aligned with the SESAR Master Plan, considers the following deployment sequence:

  • 2014: launch of a Subset Payload,
  • 2020: launch of the Full Operational Capability Satellite.

Starting from the Service Provision Model, identified for a centralized and a distributed ground segment scenario, all the costs for the SAMARA Satellite system have been derived.

The SAMARA Study has been completed with a Business Case performing a financial analysis evaluating the SAMARA System economic viability and the stakeholders risk sharing. Following the analysis, the SAMARA Business Case evaluated a cost-to-benefit ratio between 1.3 and 1.9 that indicates commercial attractiveness for securing long-term sustainability of the system for the final Iris System owner and service providers.

Status date

Thursday, April 2, 2009 - 15:06