Working Hours Monday - Friday 08:00-16:00
Toll Free 1800.899.900


Webinar on LEO Satellite Networks

  • Talks by top experts on Earth imaging and satellite broadband
  • Attendees from industry and academia
  • YouTube live streams: Day-1 and Day-2

Welcome to

Networking in low Earth orbit is heating up in two exciting ways. First, several companies are deploying thousands of satellites to provide truly global Internet connectivity, with broadband speeds and low latency. Second, there is explosive growth in satellites and ground station networks to cater to a variety of Earth imaging services. This 2-day seminar brings together industry and academia to explore system design, networking, and security, in both these applied areas of LEO networking.


LEOCONN speakers have deep technical expertise across satellite and ground system design, cloud integration, networking technologies, and security, and come both from industry and academia.

Kiruthika Devaraj

Director of Engineering
Planet Labs

Leading the design of cutting edge avionics and communications platforms for Earth Observation satellites.

Yves Pitsch

Principal Program Manager
Azure Space at Microsoft

Yves leads a range of Space-related cloud services including Azure Orbital ground station as a Service Microsoft offering.

Katherine D. Monson


Getting data from space back to earth -- reliably, efficiently, and affordably.

Manfred Leipold

Team Leader Future Technologies
Mynaric Lasercom GmbH.

Responsible for prototyping of enabling technologies for "NEW SPACE" satellite constellations in Low Earth Orbit consisting of several hundred units.

Gint Atkinson

VP, Network Strategy & Digital Architecture
SES Satellites

Leading the transformation and virtualization of Satcom into 5G from the edge into the cloud.

Deepak Vasisht

Assistant Professor
Computer Science, UIUC

Deepak's research is focused on next-generation wireless networks – cellular, satellite, and in-body networks.

James Pavur

DPhil student & Rhodes Scholar
Computer Science, Oxford University

My research focuses on satellite cyber-security and ways to secure modern space missions from emerging threats.

Melissa Licciardello

PhD candidate
Systems Group, ETH Zürich

Melissa's research focuses on the intersection between video encoding and video delivery systems.

Giacomo Giuliari

PhD student
Network Security Group, ETH Zürich

Researching secure and efficient architectures to integrate satellite megaconstellations with the terrestrial Internet.

Debopam Bhattacherjee

PhD candidate
Systems Group, ETH Zürich

My research focuses on satellite networks, Internet architecture, and network latency.


YouTube live streams for 9th June and 10th June.
Zoom links are available only to registered attendees.
Each talk will be followed by a brief Q/A session.
Note: all times are in UTC.

  • Day 01

    June 09, 2021

  • Day 02

    June 10, 2021

5:00 - 5:25 PM UTC

Ankit Singla

ETH Zürich

Welcome to LEOCONN 2021! I will very briefly describe the boom in both imaging and broadband applications of LEO networking, and summarize numerous open networking research challenges relevant to many of the key players in the LEO ecosystem. My talk will thus lay out the framing for the rest of the program.

Anim pariatur cliche reprehenderit, enim eiusmod high life accusamus terry richardson ad squid. Nihil anim keffiyeh helvetica, craft beer labore wes anderson cred nesciunt sapiente ea proident.
5:25 - 5:45 PM UTC

Melissa Licciardello

ETH Zürich

Space industry upstarts are deploying thousands of satellites to offer global Internet service. These plans promise large improvements in coverage and latency, and could fundamentally transform the Internet. But what if this transformation extends beyond network transit into a new type of computing service? What if each satellite, in addition to serving as a network router, also offers cloud-like compute, making the new constellations not just global Internet service providers, but at the same time, a new breed of cloud providers offering "compute where you need it"?

We examine, qualitatively and quantitatively, the opportunities and challenges of such in-orbit computing. Several applications could benefit from it, including content distribution and edge computing; multi-user gaming, co-immersion, and collaborative music; and processing space-native data. Adding computing hardware to a satellite does not seem prohibitive in terms of weight, volume, and space hardening, but the required power draw could be substantial. Another challenge stems from the dynamics of low Earth orbit: a specific satellite is only visible to a ground station for minutes at a time, thus requiring care in managing stateful applications. Our exploration of these trade-offs suggests that this "outlandish" proposition should not be casually dismissed, and may merit deeper engagement from the research community.
5:45 - 6:30 PM UTC

Deepak Vasisht


Large constellations of Low Earth Orbit satellites promise to provide near real-time high resolution Earth imagery. Such constellations will collect terabytes of data that needs to be shipped to Earth. Getting this data to Earth is challenging and can often take several hours to days before it is available to the user. This defeats the purpose of large constellations and frequent imagery and can be crippling to latency sensitive applications like disaster management and geopolitical analysis. In this talk, I will discuss our use of edge computing and distributed ground station architectures to reduce the latency in accessing earth observation data from hours to minutes.

6:30 - 7:15 PM UTC

Yves Pitsch


This session will demonstrate how adoption of virtualization and integration with cloud hyper-scalers high-performance networks will help minimize the ground segment design and operation costs, allowing more scale and flexibility to meet new requirements.

7:15 - 8:00 PM UTC

Katherine Monson


As satellite constellations increasingly require flexible and scalable capabilities, this presentation highlights the advantages of using an existing ground station network transformed into a globally integrated "ground station cloud" as opposed to the traditional ground station networks primarily designed to support the needs of one or few satellites with consistent contact needs.

8:00 - 8:45 PM UTC

Kiruthika Devaraj

Planet Labs

In this talk, I will start with providing an overview of Planet Labs, our founding mission, and a summary of what Planet has built to-date to serve the Earth Observation/Geospatial community. In the second part of the talk, I will focus on the satellite communication network reliability and the throughput requirements that are needed to meet a mission as large as Planet's. I follow that with discussing how Planet has effectively tackled these objectives by using the agile aerospace philosophy of rapid prototyping and iterative design.

By continuously improving the satellite radios, building and upgrading a large, flexible, ground station network, and having a fully automated mission control system, Planet has achieved the following:

1. Drastically fast and reliable commanding and tasking ability with our satellites. Today, we are able to successfully make first contact with 50+ satellites within a single orbit when we launch them as a large constellation as well as finish commissioning our satellites within 10 days after first contact. This is enabled by our low speed transceiver (LST) which is an open source project.

2. Extremely high download capability. Today, Planet is able to reliably downlink 20TB of imagery from our satellites per day with the high speed radio and ground network.
8:45 - 9:15 PM UTC

Industry Panel Discussion


Yves Pitsch (Microsoft)
Katherine Monson (KSAT Inc.)
Kiruthika Devaraj (Planet Labs)
Gint Atkinson (SES Satellites)
Host: Ankit Singla (ETH Zürich)

2:00 - 2:15 PM UTC

Ankit Singla

ETH Zürich

I will kick-off day 2, where the focus is on the ``LEO constellations for providing broadband'' aspect.

2:15 - 3:00 PM UTC

Debopam Bhattacherjee

ETH Zürich

Upstart space companies are building massive constellations of low-flying satellites to provide Internet service. These developments comprise “one giant leap” in Internet infrastructure, promising global coverage and lower latency. However, fully exploiting the potential of such satellite constellations requires tackling their inherent challenges: thousands of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites travel at high velocities relative to each other, and relative to terrestrial ground stations. The resulting highly-dynamic connectivity is at odds with the Internet’s design, which assumes a largely static core infrastructure. Virtually every aspect of Internet design — physical interconnection, routing, congestion control, and application behavior — will need substantial rethinking to integrate this new building block.

In this talk, I will focus on topology design, while also briefly touching upon the other open networking challenges in this context. Coming to topology design, we posit that the high density of these new constellations and the high-velocity nature of such systems render traditional approaches for network design ineffective, motivating new methods specialized for this problem setting. We propose one such method, explicitly aimed at tackling the high temporal dynamism inherent to low-Earth orbit satellites. We exploit repetitive patterns in the network topology to avoid expensive link changes over time, while still providing near-minimal latencies at nearly 2× the throughput of standard past methods.

I will also present Hypatia, a framework for simulating and visualizing LEO networks, that we built to enable broader research in this area. Using publicly available design details for the upcoming networks to drive our framework, we characterize the expected behavior of these networks, including latency and link utilization fluctuations over time, and the implications of these variations for congestion control and routing.
3:00 - 3:30 PM UTC

Manfred Leipold


Mynaric’s communication system works by utilizing an accurately steered infrared laser beam to transmit data unguided through air and space, allowing for greatly superior performance parameters than competing RF communication systems. Unlike RF signals, the technology is license-free and virtually tap-proof. After having developed laser terminal for optical ground stations and aeronautical platforms for more than 12 years, Mynaric has matured and qualified a 10Gbps product for optical inter-satellite-links in Low Earth Orbit and a comparable product for communications use on next-generation flying platforms. The presentation will highlight some of the products developed by Mynaric with selected technical features, and will elaborate on related qualification efforts for space environment compatibility. In parallel to product qualification and serial manufacturing various subsystems have been identified for technology scouting. These are currently being prototyped, with selected strategic technology partners, in order to evolve the next generation of laser communication terminals for air and space.

3:30 - 4:15 PM UTC

Gint Atkinson

SES Satellites

5G is rapidly driving the evolution of new fixed and mobile services all converged on a unified core with diverse access networks including Satellite, enabling efficient and ubiquitous connectivity to the edge of the network. A unified core network from 5G offers Satellite Network Operators and Service Providers access to the economies of scale and scope that are driven at the mega scale of wireless and telco markets along with the ability to rapidly deliver and control advanced network and mobility aware services such as network slice connectivity and remote edge. The combination of the 5G Core with software defined network (SDN) controllers, service orchestrators, ORAN, ONAP, operated in the Cloud for unrivalled scalability and flexibility, paves the way for innovative and disruptive satellite services.

4:15 - 5:00 PM UTC

Giacomo Giuliari

ETH Zürich

Internet service based on low Earth orbit satellites promises to bring global low-latency connectivity and broadband access to rural areas. These two use-cases alone are enough to stir great excitement in industry and academia. However, we argue that for exploiting their full potential, we should tightly integrate satellite networks with the terrestrial Internet.

This talk will focus initially on how this integration can be achieved. I will discuss why treating satellite networks as "just another network joining the Internet" is not sufficient---and potentially dangerous for the Internet's stability---and show how using a simple, CDN-inspired integration architecture can avoid pitfalls and perform almost optimally.

Beyond the efficiency of routing, I will also discuss its security. I will describe ICARUS, a distributed denial-of-service attack that can potentially hamper satellite communications between a large number of hosts. ICARUS turns a satellite networks' key benefits into vulnerabilities: the adversary can leverage the direct global accessibility to launch an attack from numerous locations, while the quest for low latency constrains routing, and provides predictability to the adversary.

Lastly, I will outline ongoing work on improving the security and resilience of satellite networks by incorporating ideas from the fields of secure routing, distributed algorithms, and quality of service.
5:00 - 5:45 PM UTC

James Pavur

Oxford University

This talk discusses threats and security vulnerabilities impacting the security and privacy of customers using modern VSAT broadband services from GEO. In it, we see how adaptations to the physical dynamics of space have incentivized poor security practices. The result is that terabytes of deeply sensitive information, ranging from data belonging to Fortune 500 companies to individual passengers aboard aircraft, are available to attackers using simple home-television equipment. We demonstrate these attacks on real-world systems, showing how minor shifts in threat-models can significantly impact the security of space networks. By delving into the underlying causes of these issues, we detail how studying the security mistakes in these older GEO systems can help inform our efforts to design more secure and robust next-generation LEO networks.

5:45 - 6:00 PM UTC

Ankit Singla

ETH Zürich

© Copyright 2021 - LEOCONN, Network Design Lab, ETH Zürich


Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

485 of 1000

Seats available

Get Your Ticket

Where & When?

March 20th to 25th
Palo Alto, California
1 200 300 9000