SAGA - Satellite Advanced Global Architecture

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SAGA capitalizes on previous studies in the frame of Public Safety satellite communication capability to assess the potential interest of a future programme, in line with the 6th Space Council and the ESDP expectations.

The objective is to synthesize the end-users' requirements in order to provide a clear view of the most promising solutions to answer to these needs. The feasibility and key challenges associated to each solution will be deeply analysed from both a technical and non-technical point of view. And finally, the actions necessary to be undertaken to ensure its feasibility will be identified in a roadmap.

In order to fully address the necessity and feasibility of a future satellite communication programme for Public Safety and Security, SAGA will focus on a large set of issues from technical to programmatic, political and business challenges.

The objectives are as follows:

  • To present a synthetic and clear assessment of the users' communication requirements, validated by the end-users themselves,
  • To identify the most promising solutions to fulfil the potential gap identified and to derive a list of trade-off criteria to evaluate the added-value, advantages and drawback of each solution. Based on these criteria, a down-selection should be performed,
  • To identify the key stakeholders and their willingness to play a role in a potential future programme,
  • To identify programmatic issues,
  • To present a critical view on the concept of operations, governance and services provisioning schemes that can be envisaged for the future,
  • To synthesize the technical and programmatic outcomes and to present a roadmap.

SAGA's scope is represented in the following figure, including the interoperability with terrestrial segment.

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Several key issues are addressed by the project.

The first challenge is to rationalize and synthesize all the work done in previous studies towards the usage of SATCOM for PS&S. The second key aspect of the project is related to the fact that the success of a potential future communication programme is not only driven by technical considerations, but also (and perhaps even more) by organisational and programmatic issues.

Finally, SAGA's purpose is to raise a commitment to the selected options – whatever it will be – involving all the stakeholders from institutional organisations and from industry.


The expected outcomes of the project are: 

  • To create a commitment around the selected option, involving the identified stakeholders and all of the decision chain.
  • To provide a clear and synthetic roadmap of key actions to be undertaken in order to prepare and ensure the proper set up of satellite communication means for Public Safety forces.

The missions considered to assess the user's requirements comprise of a complete set of the typical Public Safety missions: Natural or man-made Disaster, Emergency events, Border Control operations and Peace Keeping operations. Missions are considered inside and outside Europe. In terms of mission cycle, a focus will be done on the Response phase, including early warning and restoration phases.

The communication capability comprises fixed communications (FSS), mobile communications (MSS) and Data Relay functionality (DRS), with some restrictions, as this capability is already covered by the EDRS programme. Mobile communication includes all types of platforms: maritime platforms, aircraft (including UAVs), terrestrial vehicles and pedestrians.

Terrestrial networks are not in SAGA's scope, but the necessary interoperability and compatibility between the two types of communication means have a direct impact on the satellite segment definition.

Furthermore hybrid systems, composed of a satellite segment and a terrestrial one, may be envisaged at system level as one possible option.

Among the promising solutions identified, we will consider a large panel of possible solutions and associated architecture, from optimised usage of existing system to the definition of new features. Even among these new features, several alternatives will be envisaged, from a satellite fully dedicated to Public Safety communications to complementary hosted payloads.

In order to address all the communication needs, the architecture of the final system shall comprise of different segments to provide mobile and fixed communications, all types of IP based services, large terminals mounted on vehicles or maritime platforms and handheld terminals, etc. These different segments can be based on different frequency bands, on different satellite coverage and so on, in order to provide the most adequate and cost effective design.


The activity is divided in three steps.

  • Task 1 synthesizes previous work to provide an updated state of the art of Public Safety communication means and needs. It will be concluded by an end-user Workshop.
  • Task 2 provides a high level description of the most promising solutions and an overview of the non-technical issues (programmatic, political and organisational). Trade-off selection will be performed, submitted and validated during a second Workshop. The attendance will comprise of key stakeholders.
  • Task 3 focuses on the selected solution(s) to provide a detailed definition of concept of operations, governance and service provisioning schemes. Key actions and programmatic elements will be identified in a roadmap.
Current status

The first task of the project is now completed and has provided the consortium with a comprehensive understanding of the communication needs of Public Safety forces. This understanding is based on the analysis of lessons learned of previous events and on a systematic analysis of past projects.

The outcomes of the analysis have been submitted to a relatively large audience of end-users, for validation and complements. This first Workshop was held at the end of January 2012, in Roma (Italy) involving the participation of the fire brigade, Civil Protection, NGOs, Italian Red Cross and military forces.

Compared to the existing capabilities used in today's operations, this requirements assessment has allowed to identify the main gaps.

The second task is now completed and candidate satellite missions that would provide added value to fulfil these gaps have been identified and submitted to an audience of first responders’ representatives at the end of May 2012.

The last part of the project will be now focused on the detailed definition of the selected option. This option is composed of:

  • Short term solution based on existing L-band and Ka-band commercial assets combined to improved procurement schemes to deal with PS&S specificities,
  • Longer term solution based on the adoption of the short term solution and on complementary dedicated assets in both S-band and Ka-band. PPP models will be envisaged for such future programmes.