Theoretical and experimental satellite channel characterisation
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The proliferation of very high throughput satellite systems offering Terabit/s of system capacities, puts a large strain on the gateway feeder link requirements. This is leading to the exploitation and use of communication link systems using higher frequencies for data transmission, as it offers a larger bandwidth than the traditional Ka-band channels. Even with the exploitation of the Q/V-band (40/50 GHz), the number of required gateways may be such that the cost of the ground segment exceeds the cost of the satellite. The use of W-band (70/80 GHz) as an additional feeder link frequency band in future very high throughput satellite systems could significantly reduce the cost of the ground segment. This would also offer an opportunity for the user links to migrate to higher frequencies, improving their capacity and helping into decongesting the current occupied channels. Atmospheric impairments, including sky noise, play a major role towards the design of future satellite systems and their mitigation techniques as higher bands magnify these impairments. Within this thesis, an overview of the current communication satellite systems, propagation campaign heritage and current atmospheric impairment models is shown. Furthermore, the design and development of a geostationary beacon payload for propagation measurements premiering W-band is shown. Ground receivers are also significant towards the collection of propagation measurements. The design, development and implementation of such a receiver at Ka-band is shown. Moreover, beacon measurements at Ka- and Q-band using the Aldo Paraboni payload are processed to reflect excess and total atmospheric fading respectively. Concurrent recordings of the sky noise enable radiometric measurements from the implemented receiver terminals, which can enable sky monitoring. Calibration of the noise channel at Q-band and validation of the fading with that from a beacon power measurement is also shown.