Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Raines, PhD


Globalstar and Iridium will provide valuable global communications assets for business, humanitarian aid and military operations. However, the level of coverage and the quality of the transmission path of these systems are strongly dependent on the latitude of the user and, due to their orbital characteristics, both systems provide reduced levels of coverage at low latitudes. Additionally, the L- and S-Band frequencies utilized by these systems are prone to ionospheric interference at low latitudes. The results of extensive simulation analysis indicate that the Globalstar constellation architecture provides a considerably better transmission path than Iridium's in several important areas, including path elevation angles, satellite visibility and susceptibility to ionospheric effects. To assist future study, a unique set of equations has been developed which describe the distribution of Iridium and Globalstar path elevation angles entirely as a function of the user's latitude. In addition to the differences in path elevation angles, modeling indicates that ionospheric scintillation is a potentially serious problem for both systems. However, Globalstar is expected to suffer lower fade levels than Iridium due to its higher downlink frequency and multiple path availability. The research concludes that, within the scope of the analysis, Globalstar provides a higher quality transmission path for low to mid-latitude users.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Plain-text title: A Comparative Analysis of the Iridium and Globalstar Satellite Transmission Paths.

The author's Vita page is omitted.