RP-002 — Policy for the Use of the Geostationary-Satellite Orbit by Canadian Satellite Networks
Table of Contents
- 1.0 Intent
- 2.0 Introduction
- 3.0 Discussion
- 4.0 Policy Guidelines on Use of the Geostationary Orbit
- 5.0 Implementation
- Annex A - Spectrum/Orbit Resources in the Fixed-Satellite Service for Canadian Domestic Systems
- Annex B - Spectrum/Orbit Resources in the Broadcasting-Satellite Service for Canadian Domestic Systems in the ITU Region 2 Appendix 30 Plan
- Fixed-Satellite Space Stations in the 118.7° West Longitude Orbital Position
- Call for Proposals to License Expeditiously a Ka Band Space Station at the 107.3° West Longitude Orbital Position
- DGRB-001-04 Call for Interest in 12 GHz Broadcasting Satellite Orbital Positions
- New Broadcasting-Satellite Service Band 17.3–17.8 GHz
- Direct Broadcast Satellite
The purpose of this radio systems policy is to provide guidance to operators and prospective operators of Canadian geostationary-satellite systems in the use of the geostationary orbital arc (the GSO) for their network or networks. Certain frequency band and GSO position combinations have been made available to Canada as a result of international agreements and arrangements. This document is a composite record of the spectrum/orbit resources available to Canada as a result of those agreements and arrangements. It also recommends that these orbit locations be used for Canadian satellite networks operating in other frequency bands and services. This leaves open the opportunity to construct and operate composite spacecraft to meet several radiocommunications services if and when that is found to be cost effective. The policy is not intended to provide information on how spacecraft should be designed; rather it instead identifies GSO orbit positions for those spacecraft, in order that future spacecraft design options are able to take full advantage of existing available geostationary orbit locations, in accordance with the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at that time.
Industry Canada has studied the current use and detailed plans for use of the GSO by Canadian fixed-satellite and mobile-satellite networks, and the international agreements and arrangements for the sharing of the geostationary-orbit resource by the international community. The findings of that study were presented for public comment in Annexes B and C of Gazette Notice DGTP-004-93 dated 31 May 1993 and entitled "Proposed Spectrum Allocations Above 3 GHz". Similarly, the requirements and spectrum/orbit resources available to Canadian broadcasting satellite systems was discussed in Annexes B and D of the same document.
Consideration of this information has led to Industry Canada's conclusion that there should be a permanent record of the spectrum and orbit resources available to GSO satellite networks, and that there should be guidelines on how these spectrum/orbit resources be used so that a full range of options for the cost-effective implementation of future Canadian satellite systems is available at the time that those systems are implemented.
Hence, Industry Canada is issuing this Radio System Policy document, RP-002, which provides, in Annexes A and B, a record of orbit resources currently available for Canadian systems, and guidelines on how the geostationary orbit is to be used by Canadian geostationary satellite systems. These guidelines address only preferred orbit locations for these systems, not how to design and implement them.
The bases for these policy guidelines are the current orbit locations of Canadian satellites in the geostationary orbital arc, and the treaties, agreements, and arrangements reached with other administrations on the locations in the GSO of certain future systems. These agreements include the results of the 1983 Region 2 Administrative Radio Conference (the RARC-83) of the ITU on the planning of the broadcasting-satellite service, the 1988 World Administrative Radio Conference (the WARC-88) on the use of the GSO, and the 1988 Arrangement between Canada, the United States of America (the USA) and Mexico on the use of the GSO in the orbital arc 100° W to 121° W. However, the guidelines extend to Canadian use of the GSO in other bands and services as well, with the objective being to keep open the option of using larger multiband multiservice spacecraft in the future if it is determined at that time that such an approach is the most viable.
It is observed that satellite operators tend to place their commercial fixed-satellites in the same GSO orbital position for several generations of a satellite system, if possible. A significant reason for this practice is to enable users of the satellite service to continue to be served with minimum disruption through the transition from one generation of space station to another.
It is also noted that there may be a significant economy of scale in the implementation of the space portions of satellite networks, if there is sufficient traffic requirement to make effective use of the larger spacecraft. This was experienced in the transition from the Anik C and D series of satellites to the Anik E series, and in the INTELSAT series of satellites from the INTELSAT-III series to the INTELSAT-VII series. There are also good counter engineering-economics reasons for implementing smaller satellites in some cases, even though larger satellites are commercially available. One such reason may be the possibly low initial traffic requirement of first-generation systems and the need to optimize the projected revenue and expenses in the early years of operation.
If no account is taken of the possible future need for larger multi-band spacecraft when determining the orbit location to be used by current spacecraft, events and ensuing arrangements may preclude the future implementation of larger spacecraft. If a satellite in one frequency band is located at a certain coordinated GSO location, and a second satellite operating in a different frequency band is located at a nearby but different coordinated location, it may be difficult to combine the systems at a later date by implementing a single larger multi-band system, because of coordination constraints associated with the earlier networks. This difficulty can be avoided if the earlier satellites are co-located even though the decision is not made at that time to implement the two networks with a single larger spacecraft.
Thus, without making any judgement on the design of future Canadian satellite systems, it is recommended that Canadian satellites be concentrated in a few specified orbit locations wherever this is technically feasible. This will keep open the option of implementing larger multi-band multi-service satellites if and when it is advantageous to do so.
It is recognized that in implementing several spacecraft at the same nominal orbital location, there is a small but non-zero probability of collision between them. This risk may be able to be kept at acceptable levels, especially if the different spacecraft at a given location are "flown" by the same operator or by different operators in close cooperation. As examples of such practice, at the time of writing of this document up to six satellites are being considered for operation by US operators Hughes, Martin Marietta, and American Mobile Satellite Consortium at 101° W, and ASTRA is considering the operation of six spacecraft at 19.2EE. Thus implemention of several commercial satellites at a single nominal orbital location would seem to be viable from an operational perspective.
The orbit locations of Canadian satellites operating in C-band, ie. in the frequency bands 3.7–4.2 GHz, 4.5–4.8 GHz, 5.925–6.425 GHz, and 6.725–7.025 GHz, and in Ku-band, ie. in the bands 10.7–10.95 GHz, 11.2–11.45 GHz, 11.7–12.2 GHz, 12.75–13.25 GHz, and 14.0–14.5 GHz, are specified either by the 1988 Canada/USA/Mexico trilateral arrangement on geostationary orbit use or by Appendix 30B of the Radio Regulations of the ITU. In both cases the orbital locations to be used are 107.3° W, 111.1° W, 114.9° W, and 118.7° W. Note that the last location is not specified as a Canadian orbital location in the Appendix 30B allotment plan, but may be able to be implemented as an "additional use" within that plan. The three easterly positions are allotted to non-overlapping one-third-Canada service areas in the plan, but procedures are available for modification of the service area at implementation time. These procedures would allow for use of Canada-wide beams if required, if their use would not affect other allotments of the plan. This flexibility is expected to be available, because of the relatively few plan allotments in the 92° W to 130° W geostationary orbital arc, but will depend somewhat on the technical characteristics of the system to be implemented.
An additional orbital position available to Canada in the Appendix 30B plan is the "existing system" at 106.5° W, to be used by Telesat Mobile Inc. for feeder links of their mobile-satellite system MSAT. This system uses the bands 10.7–10.95 GHz, 13.0–13.15 GHz, and 13.2–13.25 GHz, in accordance with Spectrum Policies SP 10.7 GHz and SP 12.7 GHz. It is likely that interference levels would make it unfeasible to use simultaneously both the existing system 106.5° W location and allotment 107.3° W locations for Canadian satellite systems in these bands. As an existing system in the Appendix 30B plan, use of 106.5° W position by Canada terminates in the year 2010. At that time two possible alternatives would be to either continue to use the 106.5E location as an additional system, or to use the 107.3E allotment location with an extended service area.
In summary, the four orbital positions 107.3° W, 111.1° W, 114.9° W, and 118.7° W should be used by Canadian fixed-satellites operating in C-band and Ku-band. The only exception possible to this is the existing 106.5° W location at Ku-band for MSAT feeder links.
The broadcasting-satellite service in the 12.2–12.7 GHz band and associated feeder links in the 17.3–17.8 GHz band were planned at the 1983 Region 2 Regional Administrative Radio Conference. In the resulting plan in Appendix 30 and Appendix 30A of the Radio Regulations, there are six non-overlapping service areas covering Canada from west to east, the most westerly area being British Columbia and the Yukon, and the most easterly being the Maritime provinces, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Each of the six areas is served from a separate orbit location to which the full 500 MHz is available. These orbit locations are: 138° W for CAN-l, 129° W for CAN-3, 91° W for CAN-4, 82° W for CAN-5, 72.5° W for CAN-2, and 70.5° W for CAN-6. Feeder links for these systems are in an associated plan in the 17.3–17.8 GHz band, as specified in Appendix 30A of the Radio Regulations.
Canadian broadcasting-satellites operating in the 12 GHz band with 17 GHz feeder links must use these orbit locations, but there is considerable flexibility within the plan to changes in system technical parameters and service areas. It is recognized that these orbit locations are used by systems of other administrations in other bands for other services, but one or more of these locations might be considered in the long term, for example, for broadcasting satellites in other bands as well.
There are no existing orbit-use plans involving Canadian geostationary systems in bands and/or services other than those of Appendices 30, 30A or 30B, or the Canada/USA/Mexico trilateral orbital arrangement, as described above in 4.1 and in Annex A. However, it is recommended that if possible one or more of the four fixed-satellite orbit locations discussed in 4.1 above be used in implementing other Canadian geostationary satellite systems in other bands or services. An example of such systems that could effectively use one or more of those orbit locations are the advanced satcom system of Industry Canada's CRC to operate in the 19.7–20.2 GHz and 29.5–30 GHz bands. Other more hypothetical examples might be a geostationary satellite system of the Canadian government for communications applications in the 43/21 GHz frequency range, or for earth exploration-satellite, space research, or meteorological-satellite applications in any band allocated to those services.
The prime reason for this guideline is to make available the option of implementing larger multi-band spacecraft if and when it is advantageous to do so. It is recommended that these orbit locations be used in early generations of the networks even if larger multiband spacecraft are not contemplated at that time, because the necessary process of coordinating and notifying them and their successors in accordance with Article 11 of the Radio Regulations may make it more difficult to change the orbit location later to enable construction of the multiband spacecraft.
The geostationary orbital positions described above are for fixed-satellite networks operating in the frequency bands 3.7–4.2 GHz, 4.5–4.8 GHz, 5.925–6.425 GHz, 6.727–7.025 GHz, 10.7–10.95 GHz, 11.2–11.45 GHz, 11.7–12.2 GHz, 12.75–13.25 GHz, and 14.0–14.5 GHz. In these bands geostationary fixed satellites should be placed at orbital positions 107.3° W, 111.1° W, 114.9° W, or 118° W. The only exception to those positions for the bands specified is the planned location of the first-generation MSAT satellite at 106.5° W.
Similarly, there are geostationary orbital positions described for broadcasting-satellite networks operating in the frequency band 12.2–12.7 GHz and for associated feeder links in the band 17.3–17.8 GHz. In these bands, satellites should be placed at geostationary orbital positions 138° W, 129° W, 91° W, 82° W, 72.5° W, or 70.5° W in a manner that is consistent with Appendices 30 and 30A of the ITU Radio Regulations.
It is suggested that the orbit positions 107.3° W, 111.1° W, 114.9° W, or 118.7° W also be used for geostationary satellite networks in other frequency bands that are intended to provide service primarily to Canadian service areas, whenever such use is technically and economically feasible and ITU coordination of the network is possible at these orbital locations. If an orbit location outside of the 107° W to 119° W GSO arc is required in other frequency bands, it is suggested that orbit positions 70.5° W, 72.5° W, 82° W, 91° W, 129° W, or 138° W be considered, again subject to the ability to coordinate the network under the procedures of the ITU. If a different orbital position is required, the reasons and justification for the requirement should be indicated when a request is made to Industry Canada to coordinate or notify the network in accordance with the appropriate Articles of the Radio Regulations of the ITU.
Issued under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act
Telecommunications Policy Branch
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