SAN FRANCISCO – Italian ground segment provider Leaf Space announced plans Oct. 14 to add five ground stations to its global Leaf Line Network.
Leaf Space is establishing ground stations in West and South Australia, British Columbia, Iceland and Bulgaria “to satisfy the ever-growing customer demand we’re experiencing right now, both in term of coverage (increasing our footprint worldwide) and of capacity (increasing the total number of contacts per satellite we can provide),” Giovanni Pandolfi, Leaf Space co-founder and chief technology officer, told SpaceNews by email.
“The locations have been selected according to these goals and always following the mid-latitude distributed network model that allows us to provide higher capacity with the same number of antennas to different kinds of Low Earth Orbits,” like sun-synchronous, mid-inclination and equatorial orbit, “while at the same time reducing the impact of interference and satellites overlapping,” Pandolfi said.
With the additional sites, Leaf Space will operate 15 ground stations. The company’s new station in Iceland is designed to complement Leaf Space’s existing Northern Scotland station in providing high-northern-latitude coverage. Stations in Bulgaria, Canada and Australia, meanwhile, are designed to provide options for mid-latitude communications, decreasing the risk of interference, band saturation and overlapping.
Leaf Space is planning further expansion of its network in the first quarter of 2022 to ensure the company can help customers communicate with satellites in any low Earth orbit.
“Demand is definitely growing, we’re now running at 10 times the capacity we had a year ago and forecasting to double again by the end of the year with both addition of these new ground stations supporting existing customers and new satellites to be launched in the upcoming months,” Pandolfi said. “Regarding type of customers, we’re seeing an increase of adoption from remote sensing satellites, while at the same time the driving markets we already have (internet-of-things, in-space transportation) are also increasing in terms of the number of satellites and missions.”