Satellite Communications in the New Space Era: A Survey and Future Challenges

Oltjon Kodheli*, Eva Lagunas, Nicola Maturo, Shree Krishna Sharma, Bhavani Shankar, Jesus Fabian Mendoza Montoya, Juan Carlos Merlano Duncan, Danilo Spano, Symeon Chatzinotas, Steven Kisseleff, Jorge Querol, Lei Lei, Thang X. Vu, George Goussetis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

453 Citations (Scopus)
839 Downloads (Pure)


Satellite communications (SatComs) have recently entered a period of renewed interest motivated by technological advances and nurtured through private investment and ventures. The present survey aims at capturing the state of the art in SatComs, while highlighting the most promising open research topics. Firstly, the main innovation drivers are motivated, such as new constellation types, on-board processing capabilities, non-terrestrial networks and space-based data collection/processing. Secondly, the most promising applications are described, i.e., 5G integration, space communications, Earth observation, aeronautical and maritime tracking and communication. Subsequently, an in-depth literature review is provided across five axes: i) system aspects, ii) air interface, iii) medium access, iv) networking, v) testbeds prototyping. Finally, a number of future challenges and the respective open research topics are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-109
Number of pages40
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number1
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 5G integration
  • air interface
  • MAC protocols
  • networking
  • new constellations
  • non-terrestrial networks
  • on-board processing
  • Satellite communications
  • space-based data collection
  • testbeds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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