New Ground

The satellite industry is on the cusp of the biggest evolution in its history. Innovations in space are making satellites more powerful. On the ground, the imminent rollout of 5G networks is set to take us on a new journey, in a new direction. The foundations for this are already being laid. As a leader in satellite ground segment we see it as our role to enable the realization of this new era in connectivity.

In order to start the transformation, as an industry we need to understand the changes that are occurring with respect to 5G and New Space to accelerate and ensure a successful transition.

  • New Space

    Making satellites more powerful and flexible

    The New Space movement is having a profound effect on the satellite sector. At present, the entire space industry is moving from traditional GEO satellites to a more hybrid mix of GEO, MEO and LEO satellites, from HTS to VHTS satellites and Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbits (NGSOs). We’re moving from gigabit to terabit level capacity on the constellation level. At the same time, satellite capabilities are changing. Where they were previously designed to fulfil a specific purpose with beams covering certain regions with pre-determined throughput, they are now becoming increasingly flexible with completely dynamic beams, opening up new possibilities and creating greater flexibility. The fact that we are moving towards software-defined standardized payloads means that operators don’t need to design satellites upfront. These new flexible payloads can be launched and configured later to a specific use case or reconfigured depending on demand. This obviously takes away a great deal of business risk for the operator. In order to unlock the capabilities that New Space offers, ground systems must be equally dynamic and tightly integrated to dynamically allocate space resources as and where they are needed. 

  • 5G Ecosystem

    The new 5G ecosystem will transform the communications sector 

    The new 5G ecosystem has context in the fourth industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0), that will rely on the implementation of smart technologies. This innovation is rooted in an increased capability to communicate and to connect endpoints and players in Industry 4.0 which introduces concepts such as smart networksartificial intelligence (AI) and the interconnection of all kinds of systems. 5G is the driver of the convergence that we are starting to see taking place. To match New Space advances, the ground segment needs to move towards a standards-based, fully integrated, end-to-end, cloud-based service delivery driven by three key technology enablers – automation, virtualization and orchestration.  

    5G Ecosystem
  • New Ground

    Embracing the tech enablers 

    New Ground

    The convergence of access technologies has huge implications for the satellite sector – in terms of ground segment as well as space segment. We see a shift for satellite to blend in seamlessly with every other type of access technology to create full interoperability within the end-to-end converged 5G network. The ground segment is embracing virtualization technologies to carry out the modulation and processing within a fully virtual infrastructure. We are moving away from a paradigm where everything is configured upfront, to a more orchestrated means of service delivery where services and infrastructure are created at the moment they are needed and that can adapt and change according to demand, without the need of reconfiguration.

    To successfully integrate into the converged 5G network the ground segment needs to fully adopt the automation and orchestration that is being standardized by the terrestrial industry. Adoption of this technology will allow the ground segment to deliver the required connectivity to the end user in a frictionless manner irrespective of the application, region or location. The platform should be completely agnostic from the application that runs over it. It must deliver the efficiency, performance and scale that’s needed to leverage all the new capabilities that exist and the new scale and throughput enabled by the evolutions in space. Software defined satellites require software defined ground infrastructure.


  • Discover More

    Find out more about our New Ground philosophy and innovation

    On Demand Webinar Featuring Our CTO 

    In this webinar, Frederik Simoens, our CTO, takes a closer look at what we are calling ‘New Ground’ and how it fits into a new ecosystem that will see the convergence of technologies that will make connectivity more accessible than it’s ever been.

    How are we pioneering the change? 

    It’s a good question and one that we can address with our recent selection by SES to provide the high-performance ground infrastructure for O3b mPOWER, SES’s MEO constellation. We will be delivering the components and solutions that form part of our next-gen capabilities and SES will be one of the first customers to experience them.  

    More on our partnership with SES for O3b mPOWER: 

    • Read the announcement on our selection as ground systems provider here. 
    • Gain insight into the reasons why we were chosen in this exclusive article with Stewart Sanders, SES executive vice president of Technology, and O3B mPOWER program and Thomas Van den Driessche, President and CCO, ST Engineering iDirect from Via Satellite.