What is ESOA and what does it do?
ESOA stands for EMEA Satellite Operators Association. It is a non-profit organization established in the year 2002 with its headquarters in Brussels. It has the vision of promotion of common interests of satellite enthusiasts and operators. Having operators in all over Europe, Middle East, and Africa, it serves to the EMEA nations. Today, ESOA is a proud representative of satellite operators that caters to the needs of information technology and communications. It delivers their services in information communication all across the globe. Few of its crucial services include live broadcasting, emergency communications and information sharing, maritime, and aero communications. It also provides robust services for governments as well as round the clock monitoring of industrial processes like energy plants. It’s also serving to several other communication capabilities that the mass has become aware of and have got acquainted with.
How does ESOA function?
Currently, ESOA has a workforce of around 50 employees. Working swiftly with its team, it specializes in Broadband, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Satellite services, ICT services, Spectrum Management, and Trade Association. In association with its operators, it operates over 200 satellites that cater to satellite communications need all across the globe. It aims at bringing all the benefits a satellite can while the technocrats are all set with an endeavour of improving the condition of the world. It is helping by bridging digital, educational, health-related and social gaps across the diverse geography. With the help of its services, economies have developed in remote areas, on lands, at sea and in the air. It has been leveraging satellite services in an amalgamation of terrestrial communications and aid areas that lack economy for scale, reach, security and robustness.
In an era where new technologies are emerging every day, the number of users who seek access to a wide range of data have reached new heights. There is an ongoing demand for high-quality video and new enterprises demanding high-speed data. No single technology is able to cater to all the above needs in one go. Therefore, ESOA aims at ensuring the stakeholders as well as policy makers to acquire benefits from the power and might of satellite services to come up with a completely connected world.
ESOA has highly efficient satellite operators who remotely operate fleets of satellites 24*7 from a central satellite control center. A few operators fly single satellite while most of the operators take care of fleets of over 50 satellites. However, these services are not directly provided to the end users. They grant the access and capacity to their clients who in turn provide those services to customers who have paid. Such operators work hand in hand with broadcasters, internet service providers, telecommunications carriers and coordinators, airlines, ships, and agricultural departments. They also deal with the government, international operators, mobile communication service providers, NGOs, and Oil companies.
Via their satellite services, they contribute to departments like aviation, broadband, emergency communications, maritime, oil, gas, agriculture, and fisheries.
In an occurrence of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, most of the communication channels are either damaged or become overloaded due to an increase in its usage. During natural disasters ground infrastructures are damaged and would take many days to be set up again for usage. However, satellites are not affected by these catastrophic events. Therefore, during these emergency situations, satellite communication is a reliable source to provide help and support to the affected people.
Keeping this in mind, the United Nations and ESOA have signed a Charter on Crisis Communications. It will provide a better predictable response to the humanitarian community whenever any such natural calamity happens. The Charter will have a mechanism for delivering an improved and effective response with the help of satellites. Some members of the ESOA are already sponsors of TSF (Télécoms Sans Frontières). TSF is an NGO which helps in setting up communications in emergency situations to provide relief to the affected people.
ESOA and its concern towards a major ordeal called Space Debris
Space debris is the probable consequence of dysfunctional satellites that were not re-orbited to the so-called graveyard orbits or de-orbited to be burned up before entering the earth’s atmosphere. It can also be due to fragments that resulted out of minor collisions and disintegration out of the control satellites. Even though the probability of collisions is very less, it is a point of concern that even one collision leads to over a million pieces of debris which are free to float all across space. Also, the chances of overlapping of these particles with the trajectories of other space are inevitable. This could be a major potential collision risk.
Therefore, ESOA operators are very particular regarding operational proceedings. They behave immaculately while launching, flying and later retiring their spacecraft. Anyhow, space debris that is a consequence of a variety of factors remains an issue of concern to the operators. This magnifies the risks like disruption of indispensable satellite services in the space. These satellites are reliable for a large number of consumers, governments, and industries. It also increases the threats of collision and a total of 5 satellite collisions have occurred till December 2016.
The satellite operators at ESOA ensure that they are carrying plenty of reserve fuel before the launch of their satellites. This makes sure that they are able to deliberately re-orbit their satellites into the graveyard orbit after the successful completion of the mission and end of the satellite’s operational life. This is one of the praiseworthy measures adopted by the operators. This avoids the collision risks with operational spacecraft and emergence of extravagant space debris.
Contribution to the environment
ESOA has been manufacturing Ariane 5 Rockets for delivering payloads into the Earth’s orbit. Ariane 5’s energy requirements are pretty nominal when it comes to its launch. Ariane 5 launcher uses liquid oxygen and hydrogen as propellant whose by-product after combustion is water. So, it is environment-friendly even after leaving smoke around it. On comparison with any regular airline, Ariane 5 emits lesser greenhouse gas pollution. Also, Ariane 5’s engines are many times more efficient than those used in a regular airline like Boeing 747.