SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 61 , Issue 4 : 040304(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-017-9345-8

Review of channel models for deep space communications

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  • ReceivedSep 13, 2017
  • AcceptedJan 23, 2018
  • PublishedMar 7, 2018


This paper presents a comprehensive review of channel models for deep space communications. Based on the characteristics of environment, deep space channels can be divided into three kinds, i.e., near Earth link, interstellar link and near planet link. The modeling for different kinds of channels are summarized respectively, and some simulation results are provided in this paper. In addition, according to the development trend of deep space communications, optical wave will become an important carrier in the future. Therefore, deep space optical communication is also briefly introduced. Finally, challenges of deep space channel modeling are pointed out and future research direction is also discussed.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 61671263, 61271265), and Tsinghua University Independent Scientific Research Project (Grant No. 20161080057).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) A diagram of deep space communication link.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) (a) Superior conjunction; (b) inferior conjunction.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Influence of solar scintillation index on signal.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Received power of the ground station from Mars orbiter.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Received power of the Mars orbiter from Mars rover.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) Visible time of the ground station-orbiter link.

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) Visible time of the orbiter-Mars rover link.

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) (a) Amplitude attenuation and (b) phase shift caused by the plasma sheath at a speed ofprotect łinebreak 6000 m/s.

  • Table 1   Ground station, orbiter and Mars rover parameter settings
    Ground station Orbiter Mars rover
    Longitude $58.67^{\circ}$ W Semi-major axis 9509.57 km Longitude $48.222^{\circ}$ W
    Latitude $34.59^{\circ}$ S Eccentricity 0.615 Latitude $22.697^{\circ}$ N
    Altitude 0.0 Inclination 86.9 Altitude 0.0
    Antenna aperture 35 m Transmitter power 44.3 dBW Received frequency 415 MHz
    Received frequency 8.5 GHz Frequency (ground) 8.5 GHz Bandwidth 2 MHz
    Bandwidth 2 MHz Frequency (rover) 415 MHz G/T $-$20.0 dB/k
    Antenna efficiency 50% Antenna aperture 2.5 m
    Antenna efficiency 50%
  • Table 2   Simulation results list
    Ground station–orbiter Orbiter–Mars rover
    Transmitter power (dBW) 44.3 44.3
    Transmitter gain (dBW) 43.9432 17.716
    EIRP (dBW) 88.243 62.016
    Receiver gain (dBW) 66.825 62.016
    Distance (km) $[2.2,\;2.6]\times10^{8}$ $[359.69,\;14973.93]$
    Doppler shift (kHz) $[-386,\;-567]$ $[-5.30,\;5.59]$
    Free-space loss (dB) $[-277.8,\;-279.4]$ $[-168.31,\;-135.92]$
    Atmosphere loss (dB) $[-0.07,\;0.29]$ 0
    Antenna pointing loss (dB) $-(2.296+0.3)$ $-2.296$
    Rain attenuation (dB) $[-1.3,\;-4.4]$ 0
    Cosmic ray loss (dB) $[-0.0417,\;-0.3173]$ 0
    Scintillation index $m$ $[0,\;0.3]$ 0

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