SatApps - Space Technologies for Machine-2-Machine Applications

Users and their needs

In both, railways and waste containers management, there is a stringent demand for energy-autonomous operating sensors which provide dedicated status information. Three large system operators explained their interest in supporting the study. Both user groups require dedicated status information of their stationary (infrastructure) and mobile (wagon) devices or waste containers. 

Complementing to the user groups, the Eureka system integrator and service provider for energy autonomous telematics units, sensors and data operation as GSOC collaborate free of charge.

For use in railways or in container monitoring as it’s done for recyclable waste, the M2M data to be transmitted are in the area of position / localization, time, system status, aberrations or “anomalies” of the to be monitored device as well as of critical infrastructure which is required for e.g. seamless transport chains (e.g. bridges, railroads, etc.). An operational scenario for e.g. railway application has already been evaluated in detail within the GP-AIMS project.

The most stringent user needs are the following:

  • Global 24/7 availability and service (in a first step at least trans-continental)
  • Extreme low communication cost
  • Very small bandwidth per sensor
  • Extreme low available energy at the sensor device/energy-autonomous
  • Harsh environmental conditions

Highest level of demand of data security

Switzerland, Germany and Russian Federation RF


Service/ system concept

On the system side, in order to gain and distribute relevant data, various means of technologies are used:

  • Satellite navigation (E-GNSS) for: PNT data (positioning, navigation, and timing data) of the fixed and mobile assets.
  • Satellite communication to guarantee the mentioned user needs of the communication purposes for: level of coverage, capacity handling, quality of service, level of security and reliability, technology co-existence, longevity and spectral efficiency.
  • Earth observation data (infrastructure, etc.) for: Copernicus data and services (not real-time required).
  • The International Space Station (ISS) as a prototype “communication satellite” for: low power operations, global coverage, high availability, capacity to handle + 4 million devices, self-organized network, use of a private ITU frequency and enhanced “LTE legacy” network.

On the service side, the services offered to the user groups will consist of the provision of any relevant sensor data via the dedicated Monitoring and Control Center such as (examples): temperature, pressure, vibration, open/closed, leek, broken, km counting, position, speed…Basically any types of data that can be gathered and transported via short data messages system. 

Figure 1: Teldasat high level system description

This is guaranteed by various means of technologies as encryption, information dispersion and dedicated interoperable solutions being part of protocols filed for patents.

Space Added Value

Whereas globalisation proceeds more and more, the status and/or condition monitoring of lots of assets on a safe & secure, 24/7, cost efficient base is urgently required. Another important situation where direct access is required shows up at condition monitoring of machines or any other kind of system operation in remote or even restricted areas. For technologic reasons, exact time synchronisation is required as for the Sat4m2m patented system access procedure. Today’s solutions show many drawbacks which are overcome by the use of combined space technologies including – for testing purposes – manned spacecraft “ISS”:

  • Only satellite navigation enables global available positioning within the required accuracy levels;
  • Satellite navigation provides the global possibility of time synchronisation;
  • Satellite communication provides the possibility for a cost-effective, safe & secure global communication even in rural areas;
  • Earth observation provides global available data of critical infrastructure like bridges, earth physiography, etc. especially on a long-term base;
  • Especially in international use of freight wagons which is already common in Europe) and also in Russia, terrestrial communication via GSM is becoming too expensive
  • The use of ISS in a testing / pre-operational base allows the take–off of “Space IoT”

Figure 2: LP Ultra WAN missing gap identification



Current Status

The project has been kicked off on 18 May 2016 for a nine months duration to get in ahead of the Demonstration Project Phase.

The first stakeholder workshop has taken place on May 30 in Moscow. The Swiss Ambassador took part in the workshop. 30 participants came from RZD Russian Railways and its Research centre, NIIAS as from the following companies & organisations: CTekh/CDI, CDI CV, Infotrans, Fink Elektrik and OPZhT. A wide spectrum of requirements could have been properly addressed and discussed. The main outcome of this workshop will be emphasised into a protocol proposed by CTO NIIAS between the different parties NIIAS, Eureka and SAT4M2M. It has already been agreed by RZD / NIIAS to participate in the SatApps Demonstration Phase. The other workshops with DB Schenker and Remondis, Germany will be organized before the User Requirements Review (URR).

Prime Contractor

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Martin Haunschild
Bruderholzrain 24
4002 Basel
+41 799235516

ESA Project Manager

Volker Schumacher
ESA ESCAT, Harwell Campus
Fermi Avenue
OX11 0FD
United Kingdom

Status Date

Created: 21 May 2009 - Updated: 15 February 2014