Personal tools

UAVs and Satellites

Satellite Communication_022623A
[Satellite Communication - Intelsat]

- Overview

Different types of satellites have become indispensable over the years, supporting activities ranging from broadcasting and navigation to remote sensing of Earth. They serve a variety of purposes, so they are often categorized according to their function. Several types of satellite orbits, each with its own unique set of characteristics, for different missions. 

At the same time, satellites of all different types, no matter what they are used for, help us learn more about our planet, connect people in remote areas, mitigate man-made and natural disasters, and open up new technological possibilities for humanity.


- Mapping Technologies

Mapping technologies are used to collect data about people and places. They include:

  • Satellites
  • Software used to enhance or classify digital images
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GIS mapping allows you to layer data related to geographic points. GIS mapping allows you to view customizable combinations of data layers in dynamic tools, rather than just viewing a few key features on a static map.

Drones and satellites are both mapping technologies. They can cover large and remote areas, collect high-resolution and real-time data, and operate in harsh and hazardous conditions.


- Drones vs. Satellites

Here are some differences between drones and satellites:

  • Data storage: Satellites can store large amounts of data, and drones can capture data in real time, but there are no hard drives to store that much digital data.
  • Imaging capability: Satellites have fixed orbits and limited imaging capabilities, while drones can fly at different altitudes, angles and speeds.
  • Coverage: Satellites are farther from the earth than drones and have wider coverage.
  • Perspective: Drones provide a familiar perspective that is closely associated with traditional field work.


- Drones Communicate with Satellites

Drones use radio waves and microwaves to communicate with satellites. Drones can use radio frequency (RF) signals in frequency bands such as high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (UHF). 

Microwaves can pass through the atmosphere and are suitable for communicating with distant geostationary satellites. Radio waves are suitable for communicating with low-orbiting satellites. 

The drone can communicate with the satellite by sending a signal from the remote control to the satellite, which then relays the signal to the drone. This approach allows for greater range and is typically used for military drones that need to operate over long distances or in remote areas. 

Satellite communications can maintain a constant connection between a drone and its operator, regardless of the distance between them.


[Montreal, Canada]

- Military Drones Communicate with Satellites

Military drones use satellite communications to relay control signals and sensor readings between the drone and a control center. Satellites have wide beam coverage, so the drone always remains in the same coverage area.

If the satellite link is lost, military drones can fly autonomously for a period of time. Drones can also use radio frequency technology to receive commands from an operator and send back real-time data.


- Satellites and Types

A satellite is any man-made object sent into orbit by a rocket. Equipped with sensitive instruments and cameras, these spacecraft are used to study Earth and other planets, facilitate communications, and even observe the distant universe. 

Due to their wide field of view and higher spatial resolution, they can gather information faster than ground-based sensors. Also, unlike ground-based observatories, observations from space are not hampered by any type of atmospheric obscuration such as clouds and dust.

Each spacecraft is sent into space to perform a different type of mission, whether it's communications, scientific inquiry, weather forecasting, or field observation. The purpose of the satellite will determine its size, orbit type and general layout. 

Although there are many types of satellites with different orbits, they all follow the same laws of physics and mathematical calculations when they reach space.


[More to come ...]


Document Actions