ECSS-E-50 Part 1A: Communications – Part 1: Principles and operations (20 October 2003)

This Standard, together with ECSS-E-50 Part 2A, has been cancelled and replaced by ECSS-E-ST-50C (31 July 2008).


This Standard is intended to guide the development of the end-to-end data communications system for spacecraft.

Specifically, this standard defines:

  • The terminology to be used for space communication systems engineering.
  • The activities to be performed as part of the space communication system engineering process, in accordance with the ECSS-E-10 “System engineering” standard.
  • Specific requirements on space communication systems in respect of functionality and performance.

The communications links covered by this Standard are the space-to-ground and space-to-space links used during spacecraft operations, and the communications links to the spacecraft used during the assembly, integration and test, and operational phases.

Spacecraft end-to-end communication systems comprise components in three distinct domains, namely the ground network, the space link, and the space network. This Standard covers the components of the space link and space network in detail. However, this Standard only covers those aspects of the ground network that are necessary for the provision of the end-to-end communication services. Other aspects of the ground network are covered in ECSS-E-70 “Ground systems and operations”.