European Space Agency

SMART - Small Autonomous Re-pointing and Tracking station


The SMART Project targets the development and demonstration of a low cost satellite access provision service using GEO satellite parked in inclined orbit on both Single Channel per Carrier and Multi Channel per Carrier access schemes.

SMART provides also for centralised monitoring tools and automated recovery mechanisms in order to efficiently handle automatic re-pointing and tracking to back-up satellites (on inclined or non-inclined orbits), managing networks composed of tens of user terminals.

The main project objective of YellowSat consists in selling directly to operators an integrated package, which includes the supply of the low cost tracking terminals, the centralised real time monitoring & control tools, and the provision of satellite bandwidth.


The costs associated to the procurement of the satellite capacity represent a big slice of the overall satellite service costs.

This is often perceived as a barrier, especially for SME offering the services and for customers (especially in remote areas and/or emerging countries) who struggle to afford it.


The main benefits can be summarised in the following simple concept: provision of a one-shop-stop solution for cheaper access to satellite services.

It has to be noted that satellite capacity on inclined orbits is typically sold at a fraction (e.g. 30%) of the equivalent capacity on non-inclined satellites.


The following main technical features are target of the SMART project:

  • Optimization and industrialisation of C-Band (up to 2.4m) and Ku-Band (up to 1.2m) tracking terminals on inclined satellites (up to 8 degrees) with SCPC access schemes.
  • Adaptation/enhancement of the tracking terminals (mainly the In-Door Unit - IDU) in order to efficiently cope with MCPC access schemes (i.e. iDirect).
  • Automatic switching to back-up satellites in the case of signal losses in about two minutes time.
  • Automatic safe shut-down of the Out-Door Unit (ODU) RF power in the case of possible satellite misalignments.
  • Robust and reliable ODU mechanics/electronics in order to cope with challenging environment conditions (e.g. rain and dust storms).
  • Centralised Monitor & Control tools in order to efficiently manage tens of user terminals in SCPC and MCPC access schemes.

Main blocks elements of the “SMART” ODU

click for larger image


The optimisation and industrialisation of the C-band and Ku-Band ODUs is expected to be completed and validated by March 2012, with the involvement of first customer in Congo Brazaville.

MCPC access scheme on iDirect is expected to be implemented and validated by May 2012.

The Operational Control Centre tools are expected to be developed and validated by April 2012.

Current status

The Final Review meeting has been successfully held at ESTEC on the 10th April 2012, including a demonstration of the Yellowsat 1.2m Ku-band terminal installed in the ESTEC-ESA Telecom lab. Yellowsat is looking forward to finalising an agreement with one major investment partner by April 2012 to ramp-up the commercial roll-out.

Since July 2011 two SCPC (Single Channel per Carrier) C-band stations are fully operational in Congo Brazaville (3Mbit/s FW and 1 Mbit/s RL) on the inclined orbit NSS 703 satellite linked to the hub at Yellowsat premises in Vitry (F). Two other C-Band stations are planned to be installed in Congo Brazzaville in mid 2012.

The Yellowsat terminals have been also validated for usage with iDirect.

Status date

Monday, March 16, 2015 - 10:50