Satellite & Space Infrastructure

Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit, v2.0

Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit, v2.0

PUBLISHED: September 2021

Available Licenses: Standard: $5,795 Enterprise: $9,795

  • Report Summary
  • Key Features
  • Table of Contents
  • Supporting Articles
  • Tutorial Videos

NSR’s Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit, v2.0 (NCAT2) is an assembly of easy-to-use analytical models that x-ray and benchmark LEO and MEO high-throughput satellite systems at key architectural and business layers.

The configurable, 360-degree NSR toolkit is meant for both business and technical professionals alike seeking in-depth understanding of Non-GEO high-throughput SATCOM.  Version 2.0 of NSR’s popular NGSO toolbox has expanded in breadth and depth, augmenting the number of tools to 15, doubling the input and output data tables to 56 sub-constellations and allowing users to conduct granular, territory-level assessments for fixed-data and mobility applications.

Thousands of pre-loaded (and editable) data points processed through the toolkit’s logic constitute an unbiased, factual vehicle for deep-diving into the technical and business aspects that jointly modulate addressability, bandwidth supply-demand and constellations’ competitive standing versus terrestrial networks.

With pre-loaded datasets, configurable filters, inputs and visualizations, NCAT2 is a standalone NSR product that may also be leveraged in combination with market data and insight from relevant NSR research studies.

Constellations of thousands of LEO and MEO satellites beaming tens of Terabits per second are not only transforming the space business, but also affecting the wider telecommunications industry, making it imperative for planners and decision makers across telecom and satellite value chains to measure and visualize the impact at granularly defined levels. 

NSR’s Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit 2.0 answers key questions:

  • What are the differences at satellite and architectural layers among the leading Non-GEO-HTS initiatives?
  • What is the forward and return link capacity (spectrum, bandwidth and IP throughput) per gateway/user beam, satellite and constellation?
  • How effectively can Non-GEO systems simultaneously serve fixed-data and mobility (aero/maritime/rail) markets? How much capacity is proportionally overhead per region, territory and country and per degree of latitude and longitude?
  • How can breakeven capital cost per usable Mbps/Month be inferred for each constellation shell? What is the sensitivity to cost and performance elements?
  • How to easily assess supply and demand dynamics factually, per degree of latitude and longitude, using mobility and fixed broadband data sets?
  • What is the maximum latitude reached by each sub-constellation, and how many satellites are visible based on user terminal and gateway location?
  • How many gateway (GW) stations are visible per degree of latitude and longitude and how much space is required to house the GW antenna farm? How much IP-transit fiber capacity is required at GW stations?
  • Under what conditions can SATCOM constellations become competitive vs. fiber optics to reach distant underserved communities? How sensitive is the business case to CAPEX and OPEX elements?
  • How does fiber latency compare with LEO architectures, with and without Inter-Satellite Links and relay stations?
  • What is the satellite handoff rate and “pass time”, per system?
  • What are the exclusion angles for NGSO systems per location to avoid interfering with GEO (GSO) systems?
  • How distributed are antenna “look angles” pointing at visible satellites based on terminal and Gateway station location?
  • What is the regulatory status of each major initiative and proposed modifications?

NSR’s Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit 2.0 (NCAT2) provides clients with an equal set of analytical instruments that NSR leverages internally to holistically assess LEO/MEO HTS constellations in support of focused research studies and consulting projects.  NCAT2 includes a rich set of input data and output items including maps of constellation satellites, orbital routes and footprints, benchmark charts, infographics, exportable data tables, heatmaps, and granular visualizations and data tables.

Bottom Line: Clients can easily conduct their own assessment of Non-GEO Constellations supported by NSR-developed tools and datasets.

NSR’s Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit includes a multiplicity of analytical tools distributed across 15 Excel files (plus user guide and mobility datasets). Each tool has its own set of input variables, filters and calculation engines that drive output results, charts, maps, exportable data tables and visualizations.

Toolkit Elements Include: 

  • Sophisticated but easy-to-use analytical models driven by auto-populated or manually-set inputs and filters
  • Output-rich set of technical and business metrics benchmarking constellations performance
  • Useful visualizations including comparison charts, heatmaps, deployed satellites, orbital routes, footprints per constellation and infographics.
  • Detailed input and output data tables with information per sub-constellation
  • Bandwidth supply and addressability assessments for geographic-based SWOT and TAM analysis.
  • Examination of line-of-sight satellites and gateway/terminal beam IP throughput
  • Estimator of the breakeven capital cost per deployed and usable Mbps of capacity
  • Estimator of land space and terrestrial bandwidth required to house NGSO’s gateway stations
  • Business-case sensitivity analysis via configurable Monte Carlo simulation
  • Business-case scenario and sensitivity models for comparing NGSO versus terrestrial networks
  • Minimum discrimination uplink and downlink angles to avoid NGSO-GSO interference.
  • Other models and calculators included: Satellites’ visibility cone and beam-covered areas, shells’ latitude reach, % of World surface and population addressed, orbital period, satellite handoff time, slant range, satellite vs. terrestrial latency, upstream and downstream spectrum and throughput, spectral efficiency, fiber-vs. satellite NPV, profitability, etc.

Who Should Purchase NCAT2:

  • Traditional and Emerging Satellite Operators (GEO & Non-GEO, FSS & MSS)
  • Teleport Operators, Satellite Service Providers and System Integrators
  • Distributors and Resellers of Managed Satellite Services and Capacity
  • Fiber Optics Network Operators, IP Transit and Cloud Service Providers
  • Fixed and Wireless Telecom Operators: Telcos, MNOs, Cable Operators, TowerCos and Wireless Local-Loop Players.
  • Equipment Vendors Developing Solutions for Non-GEO Satcom, including Terminals, Antennae (MSA & ESA), Broadband Hub/Modems, RF Subsystems and Transport Virtualization Sub-Systems.
  • Satellite Manufacturers and Spacecraft Component Vendors
  • Airlines, Cruise Lines and Energy Companies
  • Other Major End Users of Satellite Bandwidth and Services including Commercial, Government, Defense and First Responders
  • Telecom/Cable/Satellite Industry Associations and Research/Development Labs
  • IT Companies developing cloud platform software solutions for satellite constellations
  • Think Tanks of Strategic International Studies
  • Space Agencies and Universities
  • Regulators and Spectrum Utilization Agencies
  • Financial Institutions, Investment Management and Insurance.

Systems Analyzed in this Product:

56 distinct constellation shells are updated and analyzed for the below-listed LEO and MEO systems, including FCC-granted, in-orbit and operating, proposed modifications and systems filed at ITU level: Amazon Project Kuiper, AST Space Mobile, China GW-2 & GW-A59, Kepler Communications, LYNK Global, Mangata Networks, OneWeb, SES O3, SpaceX Starlink, Telesat Lightspeed and Viasat.

Table of Contents

Toolkit User Guide (PDF)

  • Executive Summary
    • Toolkit Summary Table
    • Non-GEO HTS Factors
  • Workflow & Flowchart Symbols
  • Toolkit Assumptions
  • Quick User Guide, by Tool
    • Inputs & Output
    • Filters
    • Sample Output, Charts and Data
Toolkit (15 Excel files + Mobility Dataset Sample)
  1. Tool 1: General & Calcs
    1. Maps with orbital routes and satellite footprint
    2. Comparison charts for field of view, latitude reach, orbital inclination and altitude, satellite pass time, handoffs/hour, link delay and slant range
    3. Output Table with calculations per constellation shell: Orbital period, flight velocity, latitude reach, satellite handoff rate, Earth’ coverage, slant range and delay
    4. Infographics for fixed broadband, mobility (aero/maritime), wireless backhaul and space-mobile applications
    5. Orbital Dynamics Calculators
    6. Mbps (CIR) to GByte (Usage) Pricing Converter
  2. Tool 2: Sats & Orbital Routes
    1. Maps displaying all satellites and orbital routes for each constellation shell and for final combined system
    2. Expanded to support more orbital routes and sub-constellations (shells)
  3. Tool 3: Sat Tracker
    1. Map with visible sats and routes for selectable constellation shell based on site location
    2. “Sat Tracker” chart showing antenna look angles (azimuth & elevation) for visible routes
    3. Distribution histogram for the antenna elevation angle
    4. Calculation of satellites in Line of Sight (LOS) for the defined site location
  4. Tool 4: Sats in Line of Sight (LOS)
    1. Chart and table with the average number of satellites in Line of Sight across all latitudes
    2. Pre-ran data table and benchmark charts for all pre-loaded constellation datasets
  5. Tool 5: Throughput & Link Budgeting
    1. Link Budgeting (LB) tools per system with support for –both- parabolic and flat-panel antennas.
    2. Generic LB Tool for any LEO/MEO system
    3. Uplink and Downlink Frequency Plans
    4. Charts comparing constellations’ spectrum and IP throughput at beam and satellite levels
    5. Maps comparing constellations coverage and beamwidth
    6. FCC filing datasets digitized for Link-Budgeting use
    7. Infographics of user and gateway beam spectrum bands and constellation’s key architectural characteristics
  6. Tool 6: Addressability Map
    1. Analysis of addressable population and surface area for fixed-data services
    2. Density maps and tables for the targeted population and target areas
  7. Tool 7: Fiber Optic vs. SAT Delay
    1. Analysis of propagation latency for end-to-end link using Fiber Optics (FO) and LEO Satellite (SAT)
    2. Configurable processing delay per routing/satellite hop.
    3. Benchmark of four possible SAT scenarios considering use of Inter-satellite links (optical ISLs), terrestrial interconnections and gateway relay stations
    4. Infographics output for SAT vs. FO scenarios
  8. Tool 8: Fiber Optic vs. SAT Business Case
    1. Business-Case sensitivity analysis for Fiber Optics (FO) versus Satellite (SAT) project evaluation
    2. Charts with resulting EBITDA, FCF, NPV and Profitability including histogram distribution of possible outcomes
    3. Scatter plots illustrating correlations between model inputs and BC output
  9. Tool 9: Non-GEO Business Case
    1. Sensitivity analysis for the capital cost of deployed and usable Mbps/Month and bandwidth breakeven price
    2. Probability charts
    3. Scatter plots illustrating correlations between model inputs and BC output
    4. Infographic summarizing tool’s analysis
  10. Tool 10: Gateway Visibility
    1. Heatmap analysis of world geographic spots within one-hop visibility of gateway stations
    2. Calculation and visualization of single-GW, dual-GW or multiple-GW visibility per degree of lat/lon.
  11. Tool 11: Exclusion Angles, EPFD Analysis
    1. Calculation of Downlink and Uplink Discrimination Angles based on the Equivalent Power Flux Density (EFFD) limits of Article 22 of the ITU Radio Regulations; applicable to FSS (Ku & Ka) frequency bands.
    2. Heatmaps of possible (allowed & disallowed) uplink look angles for the user-antenna visibility cone and satellites’ field of view, based on site latitude.
  12. Tool 12: Mobility Heatmap
    1. Traffic heatmap analysis of satellite capacity demand for mobility applications, including aero/in-flight connectivity, maritime and rail.
    2. Pre-loaded with sample datasets for the airline business – but tool is not limited to airlines
    3. Heatmap and output data table of satellite IP traffic demand per degree of latitude and longitude.
    4. Configurable schedules /Itineraries (up to 2,500) and time span for analysis
    5. Supports analysis of satellite demand under either GEO or Non-GEO supply scenarios.
    6. Sample Dataset File from OpenFlights
    7. Output Table Combiner file to run simulations of aggregate bandwidth demand for scenarios with over 2,500 routes.
  13. Tool 13: Gateway Housing
    1. Estimator of the minimum land area required (square meters of real estate) at gateway sites to house/host NGSO antenna farms
    2. Calculation of required IP transit fiber capacity (Gbps) at the gateway site to support the visible satellites.
  14. Tool 14: Manual Measurement Tools
    1. Visual aid and measurement tools to perform manual measurements and revisions of constellations’ orbital mechanics (distances, angles, etc).
  15. Tool 15: NCAT2 DASBOARD
    1. Encompassing, configurable dashboard to perform Non-GEO supply-demand analysis per country and degree of latitude and longitude
    2. Takes input tables from other NCAT2 tools
    3. Supports fixed data and mobility data -individually or combined
    4. Fully selectable list of countries and territories for country/region level analysis

List of Exhibits

  • Non-GEO-HTS Orbital Routes
  • Relative Size of Field of View (FoV) & Latitude Reached
  • Orbital Inclination & Altitude
  • Maximum Satellite Pass Time
  • Satellite Handoffs per Hour
  • Maximum Latitude Reached and Satellite FoV Map
  • Maximum and Minimum Link Delay and application infographics (fixed broadband, in-flight connectivity, maritime/cruise, cellular backhaul, space-mobile)
  • Single-Shell Maps of Satellites and Orbital Routes
  • Combined or Full-Constellation Maps of Satellites and Orbital Routes
  • Visibility Cone of Satellites and Routes
  • “Sat Tracker” of antenna elevation and azimuth
  • Elevation Angle Distribution Histogram
  • Satellites in Line of Sight (visibility)
  • FCC filings digitized for HTS constellations *
  • Generic and individual Link Budget tools /tables
  • Uplink & Downlink Frequency Plans
  • Preferred DVB-S2X ModCods
  • Gateway Beams – Spectrum
  • User Beams – Spectrum
  • Gateway Beams – Reuse Factor
  • User Beams – Reuse Factor
  • Gateway Beams – Bandwidth
  • User Beams – Bandwidth
  • Gateway Beams – Throughput
  • User Beams – Throughput
  • Number of Gateway Beams and Type
  • Number of User Beams and Type
  • Global Aggregate Forward and Return IP Throughput
  • Satellite Footprint
  • Satellite FWD/RTN Capacity Averaged per Sq. Km of Coverage Area
  • Satellite FoV and Single Beam at Sub-Satellite Point
  • Individual Beam Footprints at Sub-Satellite Point
  • World Population Distribution
  • Addressable Population
  • Addressable Surface Area
  • Addressable Population Map
  • Fiber Optics Delay -Infographic
  • LEO with ISL Delay -Infographic
  • Hybrid LEO-FO Delay -Infographic
  • LEO with Gateway Stations Delay -Infographic
  • LEO with Relay Stations Delay -Infographic
  • Animated Clip Samples
  • EBITDA Probability Charts
  • FCF Probability Charts
  • NPV Probability Charts
  • PV of FCF as Growing Perpetuity Probability Charts
  • NPV Profitability Index Probability Charts
  • Satellite NPV vs. Bandwidth Cost Scatter Plot
  • Satellite NPV vs. GW Hosting Revenues Scatter Plot
  • Satellite NPV vs. StatMuxing Savings Scatter Plot
  • Satellite NPV vs. Terminal CAPEX Scatter Plot
  • PV of FCF as Growing Perpetuity vs. FCF Growth Rate Scatter Plot
  • Probability Charts for Breakeven Price per Usable Mbps per Month, considering all addressable area
  • Probability Charts for Breakeven Price per Usable Mbps per Month for Projected Captured Market
  • Scatter Plot for Breakeven Cost per Usable Mbps per Month; considering all addressable area
  • Scatter Plot for Breakeven Price per Usable Mbps; for estimated market capture
  • Infographic for Estimated Capital Cost per Usable Mbps
  • Infographic for Main Architectural Aspects
  • Infographic for Spectrum & Bandwidth
  • Gateway Density Visibility Maps
  • NGSO Earth Station Radiation Pattern and Discrimination Angle Chart
  • Clarke Belt Visible GEO Arc Chart
  • Worst-Case Geometry Exclusion Areas for Antenna Visibility Cone and Satellite’s Field of View
  • Heatmap of Mobility Traffic/Demand
  • Gateway Housing Charts/Visuals for Antenna Farm Space and Terrestrial Interconnect Bandwidth.
  • Satellite Footprint Radius Chart
  • Aggregate Gateway Site Terrestrial Bandwidth Cart and Visible Satellites
  • Manual Measurement Visual Aids and Charts for MEO, LEO and VLEO
  • Map of countries included in Dashboard Analysis
  • Map with Distribution of Deployed Satellite Capacity
  • Map with Distribution of Covered Population
  • Map with Distribution of Target Population
  • Heatmap of Mobility Bandwidth Demand
  • Heatmap of Combined Fixed Data and Mobility Traffic Demand
  • Supply and Demand Heatmap
  • Orbital Dynamics Data
  • Spectrum, Bandwidth and Throughput Data
  • Data table with elevation angle distribution
  • Satellites in LOS
  • Link Budget
  • Transmit and Receive Frequency Bands
  • Link Budget Summary
  • Satellite Spectrum and TX/RX Channels
  • Satellite and Forward/Return IP Throughput
  • Preferred DVB-S2X ModCods
  • FCC Filings Technical Data
  • Atmospheric Loss Assumptions
  • Population Distribution Data Set
  • Addressable Population Distribution Data
  • Addressable Surface Area Data
  • Fiber and Satellite Delay
  • Fiber vs. Satellite Business Case Sensitivity Analysis
  • EBITDA Output of Sensitivity Analysis
  • FCF Output of Sensitivity Analysis
  • NPV Output of Sensitivity Analysis
  • PV of FCF as Growing Perpetuity Output of Sensitivity Analysis
  • NPV Profitability Index Output of Sensitivity Analysis
  • Sensitivity Analysis Monte Carlo samples
  • Sensitivity Analysis Histogram Data
  • FO CAEX Debt Financing Repayment Schedule
  • SAT CAPEX Debt Financing Repayment Schedule
  • Capital Cost per Mbps Analysis Table.
  • Gateway Visibility Table
  • Output table for population within single-sat-hop gateway visibility
  • Applicable Tables from Article 22 of the ITU Radio Regulations
  • Clarke Belt Visible GEO Arc Table
  • Antenna Look Angle Data Table (discrimination angle per azimuth & elevation)
  • Mobility Carriers Table
  • Mobility Routes & Itinerary Table
  • Mobility Ports/Airports Table
  • Mobility Heatmap Analysis Data Table (1 degree lat/long precision)
  • Supply-Demand Heatmap Output Data Tables (1 degree lat/long precision) for selected Non-GEO system/s and studied countries /territories.


* FCC filing datasets were digitized for use within the link budget (LB) analysis “throughput” tool. FCC filings digitized include Telesat Lightspeed (granted and modified), Telesat VLEO, Amazon Project Kuiper, Viasat MEO & LEO, SpaceX Starlink (approved/operating Gen1 and filed Gen2), SpaceX VLEO, OneWeb (phase 1 & 2) and SES O3B (current and next generation). FCC/ITU filings for the other surveyed systems (China GW-2 & GW-59, AST SpaceMobile, Lynk Global, Kepler Communications and Mangata Networks) are not fully digitized. Data and calculations for such systems are provided for orbital mechanics but not for IP throughput analysis. Toolkit users can refer to the relevant ITU/FCC filings to extract technical data and leverage the generic Link Budgeting tool (included with the toolkit) to run performance calculations on such systems and/or any other.

NCAT Tool 1 Tutorial Video: General & Calcs

Comparison charts and maps of constellations at an architectural level.

NCAT Tool 2 Tutorial Video: Sats & Orbital Routes

World maps displaying satellites and orbital routes per (selectable) constellation shell.

NCAT Tool 3 Tutorial Video: Sat Tracker

Antenna “look angles” for visible routes at a configurable location.

NCAT Tool 4 Tutorial Video: Sats in Line of Sight (LOS)

Number of satellites in visibility across all latitudes, per constellation.

NCAT Tool 5 Tutorial Video: Beam & Satellite Capacity

Non-GEO Constellations Analysis Toolkit Beam and Satellite IP Throughput calculations, per constellation.

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