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Satellite Communication (Satcom)

Satellite Communication

Satellite communication, or Satcom, is a game-changer for ensuring constant connectivity even in the most challenging terrains and the remotest parts of our country. In India, the Satcom industry has the potential to spearhead a major revolution in telecommunications. Let’s delve into the specifics of Satellite Communication in India, keeping in mind its ability to quickly set up, its reliability, consistent performance, adaptability, and the scalability of services across diverse regions and landscapes. Importantly, it complements traditional mobile network connectivity. This information is valuable for those preparing for the UPSC exam.

What is a Satellite Communication?

  • It plays a crucial role in our daily lives.
  • More than 2000 artificial satellites are currently in operation.
  • These satellites can be located in different orbits, such as geostationary, Molniya, elliptical, and low Earth orbits.
  • They serve various purposes, including traditional point-to-point communication, mobile applications, and distributing TV and radio programs.
  • High-frequency signals are often utilized in satellite communications.

Working of Satellite Communication

Communication satellites are similar to space mirrors that help us bounce signals like radio, internet data, and television from one side of the planet to the other. There are three stages involved in explaining how satellite communications work. They are as follows:

  • Uplink
  • Transponders
  • Downlink
  • Imagine your favorite TV show is broadcasted from a station on the other side of the planet.
  • To get that show to you, the signal is sent from the Earth’s ground station up to a satellite in space. We call this “uplink.”


  • Up in the satellite, there are special gadgets called transponders. They’re like magic helpers for signals.
  • Transponders receive the TV signal, make it stronger (like a superhero boost), and change its frequency. This transformation doesn’t mess up the signal for others.
  • The type of transponder used depends on where the signal comes from, like whether it’s from a TV station or the internet.
  • Now, the improved signal from the transponders is sent back to Earth. This is called the “downlink.”
  • You, sitting at home with your TV or internet setup, receive the signal and enjoy your favorite show or browse the internet.

Remember: There’s one “uplink” (sending signals up to the satellite) but can be multiple “downlinks” (bringing the boosted signal back down to different places on Earth). It’s like the satellite sharing the signal with lots of people.

Application of Satellite Communication

DTH Services in India: India boasts the largest and most competitive Direct To Home (DTH) service market, with over 70 million active subscribers. This is made possible through the use of space segment capacity on the INSAT/GSAT fleet.

DSNG Services for Live News Coverage: NSIL facilitates live news coverage for channels, reaching nearly 185 million television sets across India. Outdoor broadcasting services are available in both C and Ku bands, ensuring widespread coverage.

VSAT Services Strengthening Telecom Infrastructure: VSAT services play a crucial role in bolstering India’s telecom infrastructure. They provide connectivity solutions to banks, ATMs, oil and gas companies, financial institutions, telcos, and enterprises. Additionally, they connect remote areas where terrestrial networks face challenges.

Private TV Uplinking and Commercial Teleport Operations: ISRO’s commercial arm enables private TV channels to uplink content on the INSAT/GSAT fleet. This is facilitated through their own teleports and ground stations spread across the country.

Tele-education Project for Nationwide Distance Learning: The tele-education project aims to offer satellite-based distance education at the school, college, and university levels, reaching every corner of the country.

Telemedicine in Rural Health Services: Telemedicine is making a significant impact on rural health services by providing access to Super-Specialty doctor services in outlying areas, improving healthcare accessibility.

Mobile Satellite Services for Disaster Management: Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) play a critical role in India for national disaster management and strategic applications. These services include one-way text message and position reporting applications, with upgraded support for two-way data communication.

Satcom-based Broadband VPN for Disaster Management: ISRO established a Satcom-based broadband Virtual Private Network (VPN) in 2008, operational on the GSAT-12 satellite in the Ext-C band. This network provides essential support for disaster management efforts.

Benefits of Satellite Communication

  • Around 20-25% of people in India live in places that are tough to reach with regular telecom services. Think mountains, remote areas, or places without mobile and internet access. But, hey, satellites can easily cover these spots.
  • In many places, only 35% of mobile stations are linked to fiber. Satellite beats other options like microwaves and is way more practical in tricky areas. So, satellite communication can make mobile networks in these places more reliable and top-notch.
  • Picture this: villages connected, education programs, healthcare reaching remote areas, and much more. Thanks to satellites, the countryside can benefit big time. It’s not just about calls and texts; it’s about making life better in far-off corners.
  • Satellites aren’t just for now; they’re gearing up for the future. Think smart stuff like machines talking to each other, tracking goods, keeping an eye on traffic, and even checking the condition of soil. It’s like the sci-fi future, but it’s happening.
  • Satellites aren’t just for everyday stuff. They’re heroes in military missions, keeping an eye on borders, helping during disasters, and managing critical operations. They’re like the unsung heroes making sure things run smoothly even in tough times.


India is making big moves to bring better internet to more people, and satellites are a key part of the plan. Imagine it like this: satellites in space will help make sure everyone in the country can get good internet. This is super important for India’s digital growth and its influence in the global tech scene. So, basically, space and satellites are like the heroes making sure everyone gets connected to the digital world!

Read Also: Privatisation of Space Sector – UPSC

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