Scheduling space-to-ground optical communication under cloud cover uncertainty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)


Any reliable model for scheduling optical space-to-ground communication must factor in cloud cover conditions due to attenuation of the laser beam by water droplets in the clouds. In this work, we provide two alternative models of uncertainty for cloud cover predictions: a Robust Optimisation model with a polyhedral uncertainty set and a Distributionally Robust Optimisation model with a momentbased ambiguity set. We computationally analyse their performance over a realistic communications system with one satellite and a network of ground stations located in the United Kingdom. The models are solved to schedule satellite operations for six months utilising cloud cover predictions from official weather forecasts.
We found that the presented formulations with the treatment of uncertainty outperform in the long term models in which uncertainty is ignored. Both treatments of uncertainty exhibit similar performance. Nonetheless, the novel variant with the polyhedral uncertainty set is considerably faster to solve.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Early online date29 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2021


  • cloud cover uncertainty
  • satellite quantum key distribution
  • scheduling satellite operations
  • robust optimisation
  • distributionally robust optimisation


Dive into the research topics of 'Scheduling space-to-ground optical communication under cloud cover uncertainty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this