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Satellite Manufacturing Considerations

Materials, weight, function and orbit must be taken into account

Satellite manufacturing considerations are a key element to consider in its construction. In space there are more than a thousand satellites coming from Earth and currently, each of them has a useful life of between 5 and 15 years. They are classified into two categories: communication devices and observation devices. The first allow the transmission of radio and television signals between two specific areas of the planet, a type of antennas placed in the sky; they serve as a method with the objective of “illuminating” certain areas of the world. Those of observation, meanwhile, are limited to collecting data and information.

AXESS, as one of the specialized companies and leader in the satellite communications industry, uses communications satellites to provide users with satellite Internet services. In addition, the service is marketed to some representatives of the business sector (the fishing, oil, mining, banking) have connectivity requirements in remote areas.

Manufacture of these devices

Building a satellite is a high-cost task due to the materials required in the manufacturing process, particularly for the minimum specifications to be met. These devices need to withstand the radiation of the space (in order to prevent damage to its internal components), be sufficiently resistant to the pressure of traveling through space at a constant speed of 700 kilometers per hour and also have adequate strength to avoid suffering damage to possible impacts of space debris or smaller asteroids.

“Determining the satellite’s function is only the first step, you also need to define what materials will be used in the device”

To manufacture a satellite, Kevlar-style materials are generally used, which does not melt until reaching very high temperatures; carbon fiber, which due to its physical properties enjoys high resistance; titanium, with high strength against the effects of oxidation; as well as aluminum, recyclable and lightweight. Another frequently used input is carbon nanotubes, remarkable for their strength.

Before starting construction, it is necessary to determine the satellite’s function since not all devices can be made in the same way. Each one needs to assign a specific communication channel and also design it properly in order to emit the indicated signals according to the chosen transmission format. They are classified according to the orbit: low, medium or geostationary transfer.

On its mass, the satellites of greater volume can reach more than a thousand kilograms, while the smallest ones go from that weight up to just a thousand grams. Likewise, these devices can be classified into systems, whether national, regional and international. After the manufacturing process, rockets and ferries are used to locate them in the appropriate orbit. One of the companies with the greatest commitment to the satellite sector has been SpaceX, by South African Elon Musk. Months ago, it was revealed that the company had a satellite manufacturing initiative at the door with the aim of offering Internet to the entire planet. For that, it is planned to send more than 4,000 devices into space before 2024. Likewise, together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it has sent shipments with the Falcon Heavy rocket, one of the largest of its kind throughout history. (See satellite phone)