TRACKS - Transportable station for Communication network by Satellite

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The objectives of the TRACKS project are the following:


For a GSM cell extension via satellite and its services, test an approach of generic product that ensures efficiency in both the following application environments:


  • Export market for rural communications in developing countries,
  • Crisis management.

Experiment and validate:

  • Operations and system concepts related to the developed transportable GSM cell product,
  • Innovative design and integration approach dedicated to be economically distinguished from the developed product and its services from competitive ones.

This approach aims to create a synergy of work and a positive context to make crisis management applications become operational.

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The following key issues will be addressed by the project:


  • The economic issues which are related to the economic affordability of the product in terms of acceptability of its acquisition cost, its operations and maintenance costs.
  • The technical issues, which concern the bandwidth use optimisation, the operations efficiency of the product (deployment rapidity, autonomy etc.).


The programmatic issue on the use of GSM frequency. This issue needs to be managed with GSM operators as well as frequency regulation authorities.


The main benefits of TRACKS project lay in the fact that it favours the development of a product with the following characteristics:


  • It has affordable acquisition and operations costs, which allows development of telephony and internet access by satellite in rural areas of developing countries.
  • It benefits from the synergy of work between the needs of developing countries and that of crisis management in providing satellite solutions to regions where terrestrial infrastructure is lacking.

To fulfil the above objectives the TRACKS project proposes to integrate in a (light) van the following equipments:


  • VSAT terminal,
  • GSM micro switch MSC, Base Station Controller BSC and Base Transceiver Station BTS,
  • GSM Mast antenna,
  • Multiservices router,
  • Power group.

The GSM micro switch is interfaced to the EADS Astrium telephone network (and thereby to the Public Switched Telephone Network) by the VSAT terminal through the multiservices router functions.


The project is planned to last nine months.

The first two months of the project will be dedicated to the market analysis study and the product specification.

Following this, development and integration activities will take place for five months.

Field trials will be performed during the last two months. Results and feedback from end users will be taken into account for the refinement of the market analysis as well as the product definition.

Current status

The Final review was held successfully on Friday 9th December 2005, at ESA / ESTEC.

The TRACKS demonstrator / product is fully operational and fulfils all its initial performance requirements.

TRACKS is interoperable with other systems


TRACKS is planned to be used within EC project ASTRO+: an experimentation of TRACKS will be performed in nearby Warsaw on Monday 6th, Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th February 2006, using DVB-RCS VSAT technology.


For commercial markets, EADS Astrium intends to organise other demonstrations of TRACKS during the current year.

For a Press Release published on the ESA Telecom webpage click 'EADS Astrium develops affordable transportable satellite tranceiving station' under related links at the top-right of this page.



Prime Contractor