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Australian Defence wants 900MHz block set aside for small satellites


The Department of Defence has called on the Australian Communications and Media Authority to consider the future requirements of small satellites in any reconfiguration of the 900MHz spectrum band. Defence is currently involved in a number of small satellite projects with the US military, which typically demand the use of parts of this band.

In a submission to the ACMA's consultation on reconfiguring the band, it pointed to the absence of ITU harmonised arrangements for small satellites, which includes socalled Cubesats and nano-satellites.

“The majority use is tending to frequencies specified by US manufacturers and the US military, which generally constrains to the use of the US ISM band (902-928MHz), which overlaps the band to be reconfigured,” the submission stated.

The Defence Science and Technology Group currently has two small satellite projects in development – Bairri and Buccaneer – that are being developed in conjunction with both US and Australian partners. However, according to the submission, the frequencies to be used are not modifiable by the Australian partners.

Defence has suggested that ACMA identify a frequency block that could be reserved for small satellites at specific locations around Australia. It said having a specific block for small satellites would reduce the risk of interference to mobile broadband services.

 “Defence recommends that improved planning for small satellites be incorporated into the reconfiguration of the 900MHz bands,” its submission stated. “This would be a confidence-building step that would provide a level of technical and business certainty for this increasingly important market sector.” Geoff Long, Commsday