Mega-constellation analysis: Reliability strategy and insurance policy

Nikita Veliev, Anton Ivanov, Shamil Biktimirov, Muriel Richard-Noca, Luc Piguet

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


    The work considers the problem of an individual satellite reliability in mega-constellations. It is inspired by many projects that have been announced by significant players of the telecommunications and space sectors (e.g. OneWeb, Starlink). Moreover, the issue has been raised before by reinsurance company Swiss Re. Since it is not only the financial metrics of the operator that a malfunctioning satellite affects, but also the acute problem of space debris, the research has pointed out the study of the active debris removal problem as the second important goal. Comprehensive multiparametric mega-constellation operation model has been developed that accounts for the orbital motion, coverage, ground communication, reliability, collision risks, and service consumption in the global telecommunication market. This model allows analysing possible bottlenecks and weak points of the mega-constellation as a business solution. The simulations process mainly focused on the effect a satellite reliability has on the services provided by an operator. Several important financial and technical parameters were monitored, such as: cash flow, coverage, revenue, total cost and etc. During the work the numerical evaluation of the cost of a satellite loss in orbit or any other kind of emergency has been made. Further on, this model can help evaluating various end-of-life strategies. Additionally, the model to assess the business-case applicability for the different options for active debris removal process was used. This helped evaluating existing ADR approaches, understand their applicability to the current situation in space sector and assess possible business outcomes of the start-up operation process, based on the considered ADR scenarios. The results we present are based on technologies developed in the ClearSpace project (eSpace/EPFL, Switzerland).

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberIAC-19_A6_8_6_x51610
    JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event70th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2019 - Washington, United States
    Duration: 21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019


    • Active debris removal
    • Business modeling
    • Satellite reliability
    • Space debris


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