A communications satellite or comsat is an artificial satellite sent to space for the purpose oftelecommunications. Modern communications satellites use a variety of orbits including geostationary orbits, Molniya orbits, elliptical orbits and low (polar and non- polar) Earth orbits.
For fixed (point-to-point) services, communications satellites provide a microwave radio relay technology complementary to that of communication cables. They are also used for mobile applications such as communications to ships, vehicles, planes and hand-held terminals, and for TV and radio broadcasting.
Communications Satellites are usually composed of the following subsystems: Communication Payload, normally composed of transponders, antenna, and switching systems Engines used to bring the satellite to its desired orbit
Station Keeping Tracking and stabilization subsystem used to keep the satellite in the right orbit, with its antennas pointed in the right direction, and its power system pointed towards the sun Power subsystem, used to power the Satellite systems, normally composed of solar cells, and batteries that maintain power during solar eclipse
Command and Control subsystem, which maintains communications with ground control stations. The ground control earth stations monitor the satellite performance and control its functionality during various phases of its life-cycle.
The bandwidth available from a satellite depends upon the number of transponders provided by the satellite. Each service (TV, Voice, Internet, radio) requires a different amount of bandwidth for transmission. This is typically known as link budgeting and a network simulator can be used to arrive at the exact value.