|Issue:||Europe II 2002|
|Topic:||Yamal-100 and Yamal-200 Satellites New Opportunities for Russian and CIS Satcom Operators|
|Author:||Nickolay N. Sevastianov|
The Yamal-100, the first of a new generation of Russian telecommunications satellites, will soon be followed by the Yamal-200 series. These satellites use modern technology to expand their radio and TV broadcasting capacity. They have a footprint that bridges east to west covering Russia, the other CIS countries and parts of Europe and Asia as well. Their high power transmission permits the use of small inexpensive ground stations; efficient modulation reduces the bandwidth needed and consequently its cost of leasing.
The first of a new generation of Russian communications satellites, developed by the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, called the Yamal-100 was launched September 1999 from Baikonur launch site to its geostationary orbit. During the development of the Yamal-100, Russian satellite builders used un-pressurized modules, contour antennae, and linearized transponders for the first time. The use of these technologies improves both the power-mass ratio and the functionality of satellite’s telecommunications package, thereby enhancing the Yamal-100 ‘s cost benefit ratio and the return for its users. The satellite was designed for high power transmission. This lets it use small inexpensive ground stations. Its design also permits highly efficient modulation and encoding of its signal, thereby reducing the bandwidth required and, consequently, the cost of leasing the satellite. Yamal-100 is inserted in the 90° east orbital slot. The satellite’s contour antennae permit uniform, homogeneous, coverage of its high power C-band signal throughout the entire Russia/CIS territory and for a number of European and Asian countries as well. Gazprom is the main user of Yamal-100 capacity. Other federal and commercial establishments also use the satellite, these include such organizations as: Russia’s Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Atomic Energy Ministry of the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Communications, Rostelecom, Vostoktelecom, Ugoltelecom and Equant, among others. The Yamal-100 has been proved in practice to be suitable for TV broadcasting as well. A Digital TV Broadcasting Centre (the DTVBC) was built in Moscow to handle satellite broadcasts of TV programming. The centre is connected by fibre optic cables to Intercity Communications Control’s main centre, which transmits signals for a variety of TV companies. The DTVBC, including the program transmitting station and control room, has full redundant, back up. At present, the programs of the following central TV companies are all broadcast via the DTVBC and the Yamal-100 satellite: Kultura (Russian Federal channel), ORT-International, NTV, Rambler TV, DTV, TNT, TV-3, MTV, STS, and 3 state TV channels of Turkmen Republic. In addition to the central broadcasting of TV programs, the Yamal-100 can be used for the development of digital TV and radio broadcasting, via satellite, for the entire region. This can be done by using a solution that integrates the high power transmission capability of the Yamal-100 satellite, with new types of ground equipment designed for use with digital broadcasting technology. In this way, satellite digital TV can be made available for use by regional operators. A typical digital broadcast system is fairly complex. It brings together a satellite TV transmission station, with a 3.7-meter antenna at a regional centre. Programming, as a digital TV signal, is forwarded using C-band transmission to the Yamal-100 satellite. The satellite re-transmits the programming to a network of terrestrial receiving stations with 1.5 – 2.0 meters antennae. Professional quality and / or conventional signals can then be locally re-distributed wirelessly or by cable. The Yamal-100 needs 6MHz of bandwidth to broadcast one TV program and one radio program in a single digital package at the rate of 6 Mbit/sec. By upgrading the transmission equipment at the station, the same channel can be used to transmit one TV program, several radio programs and, as well, non-symmetric Internet traffic. This sort of solution has already been put to work in Tumen, Tver, Sverdlovsk, Rostov, Khabarovsk, and Omsk regions, Komi Republic and other regions of Russia. The relatively low cost of these TV projects and their quick, less than 6 month, implementation makes this sort of satellite infrastructure ideal for the intensive development of regional TV. First, a low cost system, with redundant capacity for full back up, is used for the transmission station. Second, the TV carriers operate their transponder in SCPC (single channel per carrier) mode, which allows them to simultaneously transmit 6 TV programs using a single transponder; as a result, the price to transmit a given TV channel is only one sixth of the transponder price. The Yamal-100 satellite is the most “TV intensive” of Russian satellites. A total of 25 TV programs – 22 Russian-language and 3 in the national language of the Turkmenistan Republic – and 7 Radio programs are broadcasted using this link. Experience with the operation of the Yamal-100 soon proved that a system with such characteristics was exactly what the Russian and CIS telecommunication markets demanded. Currently, the satellite’s workload takes up about 90% of its capacity and it has long been obvious that there is need to prepare for the launch of additional satellites to increase the available capacity. Nowadays, two Yamal-200 satellites are being manufactured. Plans call for these satellites to be injected into 90° East and 49°East orbits by mid 2003. The first Yamal-200 will be injected into the same slot (90°E) as Yamal-100 satellite. This will not only allow it to extend the subscriber networks now working via Yamal-100, but also to give the system the backup it now lacks. The arrangement of this Yamal-200’s Ku-band transponders gives it a coverage zone that, uniquely, embraces both Russia and the remaining countries of the CIS. This will allow it to enlarge the variety of service to be provided and to simplify the procedure of state registration of ground stations The use of C-band transponders with a 72MHz bandwidth will increase the satellite’s traffic handling capacity whilst maintaining power parameters similar to those of Yamal-100, and other satellites, serving the Russian and CIS markets. This was planned to permit the use of the satellite’s capacity to develop VSAT networks, build communications trunks and provide high speed Internet access. The new satellite will also be used to expand the available capacity for broadcasting all-Russian and regional TV programs. The second Yamal-200 will occupy a 49° East orbital slot and its footprint will cover the better populated parts of Russia, other CIS countries, Europe, South-East Asia and near the East and South. The C-band architecture is suitable for operation in each of the different climatic zones within its coverage footprint. The power parameters of the Yamal-200’s transponders are approximately equivalent to those of Intelsat satellites and the satellites of other global operators. The additional 72 MHz transponders shall increase the traffic capacity of the satellite and permits its use for high-speed data stream transmission.The coverage zone of the Yamal-200 in the 49° East slot positions it well to serve as an East to West telecommunications bridge. Accordingly, high-speed Internet streams, international communications trunks and TV broadcasting beyond the CIS borders – are the main applications foreseen for this satellite. The satellite also makes possible the development of international TV broadcasting networks. Today, a number of Russian TV companies are broadcasting to other countries in the region. With the new link, it will be possible to make international broadcasting available to a billion or more people in the region covered by the satellite’s footprint.The Yamal-200 design is based upon new technology, locally developed and first used during the Yamal-100 project, and manufactured using modern production techniques derived from long experience. Gascom organized the Yamal-200 project and develops and builds both the Yamal -100 and 200 payloads using foreign components from firms such as Alcatel (France) and Alenia (Italy). RSC Energia, which also assembles and tests the satellites using fully flight-qualified systems, builds the “space bus”. It is launched using the Russian Khrunitchev “Proton” booster and take place at the Baikonur launch site. The modern mission control centre, built for the Yamel-100 program and located at Koroliov in the Moscow region, will be used for the Yamal-200 missions as well. Conclusion When the Yamal-200 satellites go into operation in 2003, they will add to the coverage and availability of Russia’s satellite communications and provide new opportunities for satellite communications operators, telecommunications service providers, TV companies, Internet users and Internet Service Providers to develop and expand their services.