SATCOM Requirements and Costing

SATCOM
SATellite COMmunications systems of various types are now installed on most of the core science platforms. The tools referenced below are provided to assist in the development of requirements and for general SATCOM cost reference. After reviewing and filling out the INMARSAT requirements document, investigators should contact David Van Gilst for a final estimate. Investigators using Ku-band SATCOM on the Global Hawk should contact Don Sullivan for a mission specific consultation and final estimate.

PAYING FOR SATCOM
The estimate for SATCOM costs included in the Flight Request is based on a direct funding transfer to the NASA Ames Research Center (currently managing the Ku and INMARSAT contracts). Please contact Don Sullivan for details on how to facilitate this direct transfer. All other costs included in the FR estimate should be transfered to the aircraft organization's center. Please consult with the platform lead regarding the details of this transfer.

Iridium
Iridium sat-phone modems, with data rates up to 9.6Kb/sec, are standard equipment on the NASA Global Hawk, DC-8, ER-2, and P-3 aircraft. These are included in the new NASDAT (NASA Airborne Science Data and Telemetry system) navigation data recorders which were deployed in CY2015. Payload use of the Iridium service through the NASDATs is available globally and is provided as part of the flight hour cost of the platform.

INMARSAT
INMARSAT BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) airborne SATCOM terminals supporting up to 432Kb/sec duplex data rates, are installed on the DC-8, the P-3, both ER-2s and the WB-57.

***Please complete the INMARSAT Requirements document, attach it to the Flight Request, and then contact Dave Van Gilst (vangilst@baeri.org or 701-330-2978) for a mission specific consultation.

A final estimate will be included as a SATCOM line item in the Flight Request estimate. Unlike the Iridium modems, BGAN service degrades rapidly at latitudes above ~70 degrees (a general INMARSAT and Ku coverage map are located below). 

Ku-Band 
The Global Hawk UAS and WB-57F include a Ku-band SATCOM system (data rates in excess of 1Mb/sec) as standard mission equipment. Ku contracts are month long and vary based on coverage location and the current contract pricing​. For reference, a table of current 2015 Ku rates by transmission speed and location may be referenced below. If using the Global Hawk, please contact Don Sullivan (donald.v.sullivan@nasa.gov or 650-604-0526) for a mission specific consultation. If using the WB-57F, please contact Tim Propp (timothy.w.propp@nasa.gov or 281-483-0882). Use of Ku systems will be quoted as a SATCOM Cost to the Investigator in the FR. Unlike the Iridium modems, BGAN service degrades rapidly at latitudes above ~70 degrees (a general INMARSAT and Ku coverage map are located below).
 

Current (7/10/2015) Ku Band SATCOM Costs for Global Hawk*
Region
Cost – Minimum Link Rate
(2 Mb/s Down, 1Mb/s Up)
Cost -Nominal Link Rate
(4 Mb/s Down, 1Mb/s Up)
Atlantic Ocean $25,000/Month $35,000/Month
North/South America, Caribbean $15,000/Month $25,000/Month
Pacific Ocean $35,000 Month $50,000/Month

*Ku costs are contract dependent. Contact Don Sullivan (GH) or Tim Propp (WB-57F) for current pricing.
Ku Service Definitions:
Mb/s: megabit per second
Minimum: 2 Mb/s data downlink from the air vehicle to the ground, 1 Mb/s ground to air

Nominal: 4 Mb/s data downlink from the air vehicle to the ground, 1 Mb/s ground to air

INMARSAT Coverage Map
INMARSAT Coverage Map