Course detail

Satellite and Navigation Systems

FEKT-MPA-DNSAcad. year: 2020/2021

The course is focused on understanding of the physical context of satellite communication in comparison with terrestrial radio systems. Within the course scope, the key aspects of signal transmission in both system types are shown and their different properties and requirements are pointed out. The lectures attention is primarily put on a systems physical layer. One solves ways of useful data encoding and modulation on a carrier wave in the transmitter, a signal propagation through the communication channel, demodulation and decoding in the receiver. In case of satellite links, satellites orbits, their parameters and calculations of satellite location prediction are discussed. Basic blocks and a structure of a communication satellite are briefly described. Examples of terrestrial point-to-point links as well as of various satellite communication systems with fixed and mobile services, including satellite navigation, are presented. The attention is also focused on evaluation of the satellite link budget.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The graduate is able to:
- describe and explain differences in radio communication in terrestrial point-to-point links and in satellite links
- describe disturbing effects influencing radio waves propagation in terrestrial point-to-point links and in satellite links
- write down the communication equation and explain a meaning of individual parameters
- list and clarify techniques of signal processing in digital terrestrial point-to-point links and in digital satellite links
- characterize techniques of multiple accesses to a common transmission medium
- characterize parameters of a satellite orbit and explain a procedure of calculations of satellite location prediction
- define basic types of satellite orbits and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages
- clarify effects disturbing the satellite motion
- enumerate the satellite link budget in an uplink and a downlink, in case of clear sky and during rain conditions
- describe basic features of satellite communication systems providing fixed (VSAT, DBS, Intelsat, Eutelsat) and mobile (satellite telephony – Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya) services
- explain principles of satellite navigation
- describe basic features of global satellite navigation systems GPS, Glonass and Galileo
- give basic building blocks of a satellite body


The student should be able to explain basic principles of propagation of electromagnetic waves in the free space and in the atmosphere, describe the structure of a general digital communication system, describe principles of basic operations of digital signal processing (coding, modulation), use logarithmic expressions of ratios and levels of powers, voltages and currents, characterize properties and requirements for receiving and transmitting parts of communication systems.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

MARAL, G., BOUSQUET, M. Satellite Communication Systems. 5. ed. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 685 s. ISBN: 978-0-470-71458-4. (EN)
PRATT, T., BOSTIAN, C., ALLNUTT J. Satellite Communications. Hoboken: John Wiley&Sons Ltd., 2003. ISBN 04-713-7007-X. (EN)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods include lectures, computer laboratories and practical laboratories. Course is taking advantage of e-learning (Moodle) system.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

During the semester, students can obtain 35 points, from which 20 points are for labs and 15 points are for a computer exercises. A final exam is evaluated by 65 points.
The final exam will be performed distantly/online.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Introductory information, history of point-to-point links and satellite links
2. General description of a point-to-point link
3. Propagation of electromagnetic waves
4. Communication equation
5. Satellite links - satellite orbits
6. Satellite link budget – basic analysis
7. Overall satellite link budget
8. Propagation of satellite signals
9. Types of transmitted signals
10. Technology of satellites
11. Satellite communication systems
12. Satellite navigation
13. Research and experimental satellites


The aim of the course is to explain specifics of radio communication in terrestrial point-to-point links and in satellite links, to introduce issues of the satellite mechanics and the satellite construction, to teach students evaluating the budget of a given link and to describe basic features of important communication systems in this area.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Evaluation of the activities is specified by a regulation issued by the lecturer responsible for the course annually.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPA-CAN Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPAD-CAN Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPC-EKT Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory-optional
  • Programme MPA-TEC Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Exercise in computer lab

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer