Tracking systems for satellite communications

GJ Hawkins, DJ Edwards, JP McGeehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Satellites in nominally geostationary orbits possess diurnal motion which causes the apparent position of the spacecraft to wander in the sky as seen by an earth station. If uncompensated this causes a variation in the performance of the communications link. The motion of the satellite therefore has to be tracked by the earth station antenna. During the past twenty years or so a considerable amount of work has gone into the development of tracking schemes for satellite communication systems. A review of the various techniques is presented. For each method used the principle of operation is described and the various salient features extracted. Comparisons are made where appropriate and practical implementations of the systems discussed. The application of intelligent control algorithms to tracking is also considered. The areas covered include, orbit determination, optimal estimation techniques, performance, and practical implementations. Recently introduced techniques are considered and likely future developments projected
Translated title of the contributionTracking systems for satellite communications
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393 - 407
Number of pages15
JournalIEE Proceedings F - Communications, Radar and Signal Processing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1988

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE)
Rose publication type: Journal article


  • satellite relay systems
  • telecommunications computer control
  • radar and radio navigation,
  • antennas


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