Cost Model of Satellite Systems for Real-Time Helicopter Operations

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Wireless communication has entered its fastest growth period in history since development of technologies provide wide spread deployment [4]. Real-time wireless information management in energy and resource operations requires fast and seamless information flow for data acquisition, management and operational decisions. Applications related to current location often need to send and receive data continuously. In geophysical surveys in remote areas, equipment movement by using helicopter to geophone locations as well as dynamic real-time information exchange between the pilot, base station and main office is necessary to guide the helicopter to the right location successfully and efficiently [1]. These tasks can be accomplished by wireless mobile telephone (cell phone), radio modems or satellite communication link. In most cases, using radio modems is less expensive and more convenient since cell phone coverage may not be available. The disadvantage of using radio modems is that the maximum range of communication using commonly available licensed radios (with a 5 to 40 watt transmitter) is limited to around 40 kilometers (with repeaters). A satellite communication link is an alternative choice in real-time geospatial operations [3][5].