6, October 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10506
Open Date: 15/09/2021 12:58 CEST
Closing Date: 02/03/2022 13:00 CEST

The objective of the activity is to develop and validate in orbit a communications experiment to demonstrate direct 5G broadband access from LEO to very small aperture mobile terminals. The minimum target data rate target is 1 Mbps. Targeted Improvements: Enabling 5G broadband services directly from satellite. Description: The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) completed the first global 5th Generation (5G) New Radio (NR) standard in its Release 15, paving the way for making 5G a commercial reality. Enabling 5G NRto support satellite communications is also an on-going effort in 3GPP. Meanwhile, we are witnessing a resurgent interest in providing connectivity from space. In the past few years, there has been a surge of proposals about using large constellations of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband access. It is anticipated that the integration of satellite communications into 5G networks will facilitate the anything, anytime, anywhere connectivity paradigm. More specifically, the most interesting and innovative integration scenario is the direct 5G broadband access to very small aperture terminals. Within this category, portable, vehicular andhandheld terminals represent the most technically challenging scenario, but also the most commercially appealing. To support this 5G satellite use case, the activity will develop and validate in orbit a communications experiment to do an early demonstration ofdirect 5G broadband services from LEO. The space segment of the experiment will consist of a transparent payload to be flown at a relatively low orbit to ease the closure of the link budget. The payload will implement a bent-pipe bi-directional transponder providing user connectivity at the most suitable frequency band to be selected as part of the activity. The development of the experiment willtrade off a number of mission and system design elements including regulatory aspects, payload and terminal complexity, complexity of the demonstration, availability of the required key technical elements and the achievable data rate. The experiment lifetime willbe defined to maximise the use of COTS components yet guaranteeing the required experimentation time. The user terminals will support the latest version of 3GPP’s Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) standard and will leverage existing technologies whenever possible. Finally, a g-NodeB equipment will be enhanced with the NTN function to communicate with the satellite payload and will be integrated in the earth-ground station. The direct access tests will be performed by demonstrating a broadband link of at least 1 Mbps in suburban and rural areas. Higher throughput will be attempted with portable or vehicular terminals. Several tests will be performed to ensure the repeatability and reliability of the results.

Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Adriana Lucas
Initiating Service: TIA-TFE
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-03A – 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 6-A-IV-Telecom Equipment / 6-D-II-Telecommunication Payloads
Products Keywords: 2-L-4-a-Bent-pipe repeaters, regenarative transponders,…

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