SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of satellite and VSAT satellite 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
246673  Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of satellite and VSAT satellite 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Telecommunications 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Manufacturing and Assembly 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard will contribute to the full development of any learner within the Telecommunications environment, more specifically within the satellite communications environment by providing recognition, further mobility and transportability within the field. This knowledge skill forms the basis for further development that would lead to the ability to perform basic tasks on satellite communications networks in specific occupations at NQF Levels 4, 5 and 6.

The knowledge and understanding demonstrated in this unit standard are essential for upliftment, social and economic transformation in the Telecommunications environment.

The qualifying learner is capable of demonstrating an understanding of:
  • The underlying fundamentals of satellites.
  • The space environment and its effect on satellites.
  • Space systems segments and the basic operation of these segments.
  • The underlying fundamentals of satellite communications.
  • Satellite communications networks and services.
  • The underlying fundamentals of VSAT satellite.
  • VSAT satellite system components and their basic operation.
  • Satellite Multiple Access Protocols.

    The learning outcomes in this unit standard contribute to the exit level outcomes which provide qualifying learners with access to a range of further learning in this field at NQF Level 4 and above, in the form of workplace based learning programmes for occupationally focused qualifications. Qualifying learners have an understanding of the science and technology which underpins these activities. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    The learning assumed to be in place should be on the same level of this unit standard or higher:
  • Communication and Language Studies.
  • Telecommunications principles.
  • Principles of radio systems. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    The typical scope of this unit standard includes but is not limited to:
  • Fundamental principles underlying satellites.
  • Features of the space environment and its effect on satellites.
  • Components, features and basic operation of space systems.
  • Fundamental principles underlying communications satellites.
  • Components, features and basic operation of communications satellite networks.
  • Fundamental principles underlying VSAT satellite communications.
  • VSAT satellite costs compared to terrestrial alternatives.
  • VSAT applications.
  • Components, features and basic operation of VSAT satellite networks.
  • Features and basic operation of Satellite Multiple Access Protocols. 

  • Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying fundamentals of satellites. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The classification of satellites are listed and described in accordance with satellite technology. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Satellite orbital parameters are described in accordance with satellite technology. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Semi-major axis, eccentricity, inclination, right ascension of the ascending node, argument of perigee, epoch time, true anomaly, altitude, period and ground track.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Orbital perturbations caused by the earth are described in accordance with satellite technology. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Asymmetry of the earth, oblations of the earth and homogeneous-ness of the earth.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The concept 'satellite footprint' is explained with reference to satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Basic physics of satellite orbits is explained with reference to satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    The basic of launching and final positioning of satellites is explained with reference to satellite theory. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the space environment and its effect on satellites. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Key features of the space environment are listed with reference to satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The effect of the earth's atmosphere on a satellite is described with reference to satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The effect of sun emissions on a satellite is described with reference to satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Solar activity cycles, solar electromagnetic radiation, solar wind, solar flares, cosmic rays and solar thermal energy.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The effect of Van Allen Radiation Belts on a satellite is described with reference to satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Inner and Outer Van Allen Radiation Belts.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The effect of the earth's magnetic field on a satellite is described with reference to satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    The effect of space debris and meteoroids on a satellite is described with reference to satellite theory. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate an understanding of space systems segments and the basic operation of these segments. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Space systems segments are listed and described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Space, Control and User Segments.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The components of space segments are listed and described in terms of space theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Structure, Power, Propulsion, Stabilization and Altitude Control, Thermal Control, Environmental Control and Telemetry, Tracking and Command.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The components of control segments are listed and described in terms of satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Platform, Payload and Network Control.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The components of user segments are listed and described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Suppliers, Bearers, Teleport and Subscribers.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    The underlying fundamentals of satellite communications are demonstrated in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Key features of satellite communications are demonstrated in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Onboard subsystems on a communications satellite are listed and described in accordance with of manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Station-keeping, Power Supply, Command and Telemetry, Antenna and Transponders.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The classification of communications satellites is described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Fixed Service Satellites and Consumer Satellites.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Satellite frequency bands and utilization is described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    C, Ku and Ka frequency bands, satellite frequency plan and polarization techniques.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The concept 'satellite capacity' is explained in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    Key features of communications via satellites in different orbits are listed in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Low, medium and geosynchronous orbits.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 7 
    The factors that influence satellite communications signal quality are listed in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 5 
    Satellite communications networks and services are demonstrated in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Key features of an Earth Station are listed in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Types of satellite communications services are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Point-to-point simplex service, point-to-point duplex service, point-to-multipoint service and mobile service.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Satellite network topology types and their features are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Star, Mesh and Hybrid Network.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 6 
    The underlying fundamentals of VSAT satellite is explained in accordance with satellite theory specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The term 'VSAT satellite' is defined in accordance with satellite theory specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The basic operation of a VSAT satellite network is described in accordance with satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Key features of a VSAT satellite network are described in accordance with satellite theory. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The cost effectiveness of VSAT satellite networks compared to terrestrial alternatives are explained in accordance with company tariff structures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The classification of VSAT satellite applications are described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Broadcasting or one-way applications and interactive or two-way applications.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 7 
    VSAT satellite system components and their basic operation are demonstrated in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The VSAT installation is named and described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Antenna, Outdoor Unit or Feeder, Inter-facility Link Cable and Indoor Unit (Modem).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The subcomponents, inter-working and functionalities of the Outdoor Unit are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications (Feeder). 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Radio Frequency Up Converter, Solid State Power Amplifier, Low Noise Amplifier or Low Noise Blocker and Radio Frequency Down Converter.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The subcomponents, inter-working and functionalities of the Indoor Unit are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Modulator, Demodulator and Baseband Interface.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The system components, inter-working and functionalities of the Earth Station are named and described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Antenna, Inter-facility Link, RF Equipment, VSAT Interface Equipment and Network Management System.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The subcomponents, inter-working and functionalities of the RF Equipment are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Radio Frequency Up Converter, Solid State Power Amplifier or High Power Amplifier, Low Noise Amplifier and Radio Frequency Down Converter.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    The subcomponents, inter-working and functionalities of the VSAT Interface Equipment are described in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Modulator, Demodulator and Baseband Processor.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 8 
    Satellite Multiple Access Protocols are demonstrated in accordance with manufacturer specifications. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The applicable layers of protocols and their implementation are explained are described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Satellite Capacity Access Protocol, Satellite Network Access Protocol, User Data Protocols and the OSI Model.
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The functionality and basic operation of Satellite Capacity Access Protocols are described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Frequency Division Multiple Access, Time Division Multiple Access and Code Division Multiple Access.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The functionality and basic operation of Satellite Network Access Protocols are described in accordance with satellite theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Time Division Multiplex/Time Division Multiple Access and Single Channel per Carrier/Demand Assignment Multiple Access.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The functionality and basic operation of Time Division Multiplex/Time Division Multiple Access are described in accordance with transmission theory. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Including but not limited to:
  • Aloha, Slotted Aloha (S-Aloha), Selective Reject Aloha (SREJ-Aloha), Demand Assignment TDMA with Slotted Aloha Reservation Access (DA-TDMA).
     


  • UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Only ETQA registered assessors with expertise in satellite communications systems may assess a learner against this Unit Standard.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this Unit Standard must be accredited as a provider through the relevant SETA/ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the agreed ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Classification of satellites.
  • Satellite orbital parameters.
  • Orbital perturbations caused by the earth.
  • Features of satellite footprints.
  • The concepts 'space junk' and 'orbital debris'.
  • Basic physics of satellite orbits.
  • Satellite launch vehicles and thrusters.
  • Features of the space environment.
  • The earth's atmosphere and its effect on a satellite.
  • The sun's emissions and its effect on a satellite.
  • The Van Allen Radiation Belts and its effect on a satellite.
  • The earth's magnetic field and its effect on a satellite.
  • Space debris and meteoroids and its effect on a satellite.
  • Space systems segments.
  • Features and components of the satellite platform space segment.
  • Features and components of the satellite control segment.
  • Features and components of the satellite user segment.
  • Features of satellite communications.
  • Onboard subsystems of a communications satellite.
  • The positioning of communications satellites in space.
  • Classification of communications satellites.
  • Signal polarization techniques used in satellite communications.
  • Features of satellite communications frequency utilization.
  • The concept 'satellite capacity'.
  • Function and principle of operation of Satellite Capacity Access Protocols.
  • Features of communications satellites in different orbits.
  • Satellite communications signal quality.
  • The components in a satellite communications link.
  • The features of an Earth Station.
  • The types of satellite communications services.
  • Satellite communications network topology types and features.
  • Evolving satellite communications network architectures.
  • Drivers of future satellite communications trends.
  • The concept 'VSAT satellite'.
  • VSAT satellite system components, inter-working and functionalities.
  • Earth Station VSAT satellite system components, inter-working and functionalities.
  • Cost effectiveness of VSAT satellite communications in comparison with terrestrial alternatives.
  • Features of VSAT satellite communications.
  • Characteristics of VSAT satellite communications.
  • VSAT satellite network topologies.
  • Features of the Ku- and C-frequency bands.
  • Categories of VSAT applications.
  • The applicable layers of protocols used their functions and implementation.
  • Satellite Capacity Access Protocols.
  • Satellite Network Access Protocols.
  • Commonly used User Protocols. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions have been made, using critical and creative thinking. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organization or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organize and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyze, organize and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognizing that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO CONTRIBUTING 
    Contributing to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the society at large, by making it the underlying intention of any program of learning to make an individual aware of the importance of:
  • Reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more.
  • Effectively participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities.
  • Being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts.
  • Exploring education and career opportunities.
  • Developing entrepreneurial opportunities learners with applied competence and a basis for further learning.
  • The learner contribute to his/her own development. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Comment on this unit standard should reach SAQA no later than 26 October 2007.
    The level assigned to this unit standard is appropriate because the learner:
  • Has basic knowledge of some main areas of a discipline/field.
  • Has basic understanding of a discipline/field's key term, rules, concepts, principles and theories.
  • Is familiar with some of the essential methods, procedures and techniques of the discipline/field.
  • Has the ability to use the above to solve routine problems within given frameworks.
  • Has a basic information gathering, analysis and presentation skill.
  • Has the ability to communicate information reliably and accurately in the required medium of instruction.
  • Has the capacity to operate within clearly defined contexts, with limited scope for personal decision-making and responsibility.
  • Learn within a well-structured and managed environment.
  • Evaluate own performance against given criteria.

    Legal Requirements:

    Compliance to the following legal requirements and standards are mandatory:
  • Employer's Policies and Procedures.
  • Environmental Management System.
  • Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • National and International Standards.
  • Local Metropolitan Council Regulations.

    Notes to Assessors

    Assessors should keep the following general principles in mind when designing and conducting assessments against this unit standard:
  • Assessing outcomes related to the demonstration of the understanding of principles/concepts:

    > Develop a portfolio of evidence which uses prior evidence as produced in written examinations.
    > Develop additional written assessment tools to supplement undependable sources of evidence in the previous bullet.
  • Focus the assessment activities on gathering evidence in terms of the main outcome expressed in the title to ensure assessment is integrated rather than fragmented. Where assessment at title level is unmanageable, then focus assessment around each specific outcome, or groups of specific outcomes.
  • Make sure evidence is gathered across the entire range, wherever it applies. Ensure that the assessment activities focus on outcomes and are sufficient to enable evidence to be gathered around all the assessment criteria.
  • The assessment criteria provide the specifications against which assessment judgments should be made. In most cases, knowledge can be inferred from the quality of the performances, but in other cases, knowledge and understanding will have to be tested through questioning techniques. Where this is required, there will be assessment criteria to specify the standard required.
  • The task of the Assessor is to gather sufficient evidence, of the prescribed type and quality, as specified in this unit standard, that the candidate can achieve the outcomes again and again and again. This means Assessors will have to judge how many repeat performances are required before they believe the performance is reproducible.
  • All assessments should be conducted in line with the following well documented principles of assessment: Appropriateness, fairness, manageability, integration into work or learning, validity, direct, authentic, sufficient, systematic, open and consistent.
  • Requirements for a portfolio are that it should be valid, reliable and authentic evidence (presented as a portfolio of evidence) from past achievements and experience, which serves to supplement the assessment of applied competence.
  • The portfolio may also include:

    > Written statements from persons (e.g. current and/or previous employer, colleague, peer, manager, external customers) confirming competence of the learner.
    > Relevant certificates or awards.
    > Previous assessment records.
    > Journals/logbook.
  • The portfolio may not include:

    > Evidence older than 3 years. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  59057   Further Education and Training Certificate: Telecommunication Network Operations  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Reregistered  2023-06-30  MICTS 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. TELKOM SA SOC LTD 
    2. Tira Telecoms 
    3. Triple Play Fibre Optic Solutions 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.