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New Space solutions for public safety


​Public safety needs

The narrowband professional mobile radio systems such as terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) are used traditionally for public safety communications. The trend in the future is going more towards using commercial mobile broadband networks, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Fifth Generation (5G) networks, due to the high demand for broadband services, new applications and smart devices. Mission critical users such as police officers, border guards and ambulance, fire and rescue personnel need reliable communications, high availability, and security that require numerous technological enablers. In addition to connectivity, the public safety personnel also needs reliable situational awareness information. The satellites are an essential part of the operations in remote locations and can be used to enable novel services e.g. via autonomous systems. The systems need to be reliable and secure and thus a key role will be in the services provided by small satellites, drones and High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS).

5G and beyond systems and integration with satellites

5G and beyond systems enable seamless integration of multiple radio and network technologies. They also enable a creation of logical public safety networks within the same infrastructure as is used commercially. Diverse set of technologies such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and spectrum sharing support different application areas. 3GPP is the main standardization body and it aims to advance the mission-critical services in each release and integrate satellite systems as part of the 5G system. Satellite industry is also currently in a transformation phase due to rapid technological advances in small satellite systems and in the development of mega-constellations. There is also an increasing need for high- throughput-satellite-systems, integration of the radio systems in 5G and beyond and for interconnecting them to each other. Instead of using satellite communications only for broadcasting, the broadband connectivity and mobile systems (e.g. in aircrafts, vessels, and moving platforms) are becoming more and more important.

Situational awareness with satellites

In many situations the public safety organizations require an on-scene, real-time surveillance using multiple different sensors mounted on vehicles or worn on the individual’s body. It is also important to prevent catastrophes by enabling a large area surveillance and detection of things in advance. In some cases, the satellite data can support the actual operation but satellites, drones and HAPS play a critical role in the large area surveillance. Earth observation satellites that are equipped with sensors capable of detecting fires, chemical leakages and in providing other general information, can assist the public safety personnel in route selection and making the operations proactive, safer and more efficient. Good connectivity is essential in order to enable real-time or close to real-time services during the operations.

Examples of VTT solutions and offerings

Some recent examples of VTT solutions and on-going activities:

  • Creation of the most reliable and cyber secure small satellites using VTT´s vast testing facilities
  • Making smart cities safe with 5G, IoT and drones
  • 5G satellite-terrestrial integration including radio frequency (RF) components, antennas, and radio access and network management technologies
  • Miniaturized hyperspectral cameras for small satellites as well as other sensors such as radiometers and radars for obtaining situational awareness
  • Earth observation data analysis e.g. for forestry and chemical leakage imaging 

Some selected references

  1. VTT and ESA strategic collaboration on 5G: 5G gets ready for lift off
  2. A. Anttonen, P. Ruuska, M. Kiviranta, 3GPP Nonterrestrial networks: A concise review and look ahead
  3. LuxTurrim project
  4. M. Höyhtyä et al., Critical communications over mobile operators’ networks: 5G use cases enabled by licensed spectrum sharing, network slicing, and QoS control, IEEE Access, vol. 6, pp. 73572–73582, December 2018.
  5. M. Höyhtyä, T. Ojanperä, J. Mäkelä, S. Ruponen, and P. Järvensivu, Integrated 5G satellite-terrestrial systems: Use cases for road safety and autonomous ships, in Proc. KaConf, October 2017.
  6. Hyperspectral cameras for small satellites: VTT's NanoSat hyperspectral camera remains stable after enduring one year of space weather and even a severe solar storm - Delivers high quality spectral data


​​For more information please contact:

Marko Höyhtyä, New Space Co-Creation Manager
Tuomas Korpela, Solutions Sales Lead