January 29, 2019

Geico

The GEICO project (for GEneric technology for Innovation and COmpetitiveness) is supporting development of equipment and technologies made in France for satellites delivering television broadcast and multimedia connection services. It thus comes within the scope of CNES’s mission to boost the competitiveness of French industry.

Operating in geostationary Earth orbit, most telecommunications satellites broadcast television and/or provide two-way communications links, for example for Internet services. To this end, they have:

  • antennas on their Earth-facing and lateral sides to receive signals from the ground (uplink) and relay them to users (downlink)
  • repeaters (also called transponders) to amplify received signals by a factor of 109 to 1,012 and convert output frequencies in order to avert interference between uplink and downlink signals
  • and sometimes a digital processor—built into the repeater—to alter signals or how they are allocated between the uplink and downlink

The goal of the GEICO project launched in 2013 is to support improvement of such equipment and technologies developed by French industry. It is concentrating on the core range of telecommunications satellites used to broadcast television and provide communications at medium data rates in C, Ku and Ka bands. GEICO complements the THD-Sat project focused on developing technology building blocks for fast-broadband Internet services, the FLIP and FAST projects, and the Neosat project to conceive a new-generation bus for telecommunications satellites.

GEICO activities are defined jointly by CNES and industry, covering antennas, repeaters and methods (simulation software, assembly and test methods, etc.), as well as cross-cutting technologies and payload architecture. Development work is carried out and co-funded by manufacturers. The project aims to bring products to commercial maturity and, if possible, ready them for in-orbit operations before end 2020.