MEGALEO: Self-Organized Lower Earth Orbit Mega-Constellations

Project Description:

A number of private ventures envision a global network comprising a large number of NGSO satellites with the aim of providing ubiquitous broadband connectivity. This is in contrast to conventional GSO satellite systems, which are mainly used for servicing targeted continental markets. Traditionally, the level of risk taking in large GEO satellites has been limited due to the high level of reliability mandated by the expected long lifetime of satellites and the inherent single point of failure. Based on recent technological evolutions, it is meanwhile possible to create a chain production of cheaper NGSO satellites that can have a much shorter lifespan (1-3 years). This means that the satellite infrastructure can be more regularly upgraded and thus the payload design can be more innovative in terms of on-board technologies. This evolution opens up a plethora of opportunities for massive self-organized, reconfigurable and resilient NGSO satellite constellations, which can operate as a global network instead of a single relay.

The research hypothesis of “MegaLEO – Self-Organized Lower Earth Orbit Mega-Constellations is that a large satellite constellation can operate semi-autonomously by deciding and executing satellite and network operation configurations in space. In this direction, the self-organization and self-healing of the satellite constellations as well as distributed on-board implementation of optimization / machine learning algorithms can be viewed as key components for this novel concept.

MEGALEO will focus on two critical use cases where distributed control of the satellites’ orbital positions and radio resources would be imperative: a) matching the heterogeneous traffic demand across the globe, b) managing the radio interference towards GSO systems in accordance to regulations.

Figure 1. Heterogeneous traffic demand indicated by a color map and multi-beam NGSO satellites.



Funding: This project is funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) under the CORE program

Industrial Partner: GOMSPACE Luxembourg

Research Team: