18, October 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10474
Open Date: 22/09/2021 10:08 CEST
Closing Date: 08/12/2021 13:00 CEST

Objective: The objective of the activity is to develop small prototypes and proofs of concepts of emerging optical and quantum key distribution concepts and technologies for satellite communications. The deliverables of this activity will validate the use of technologies in a satellite context. Targeted Improvements:Significantly reduce the time to prototype and de-risk optical communication and quantum key distribution concepts. Description: Optical communications are steadily gaining relevance in satellite systems based on the pioneering work of EDRS and other flagship developments in governmental programmes. For example, future constellations will use optical inter-satellite links, some CubeSat are already using optical terminals and the ISS will get an optical link in 2021.While flagship programmes have been and will be the main driver of optical satellite communications, they are still slow in their implementation and are unable to quickly react to emerging opportunities. It is therefore necessary to implement a mechanism that allows to quickly respond to emerging optical communication technology development needs and explore synergies and opportunities vis-a-vis satellite communications. This activity will bridge this gap by enabling the rapid assessment of technologies and concepts through the initiation of multiple small prototyping projects with minimal administrative burden. The activity will specifically involve very small industrial players / Makerspaces throughout Europe, which are at present focused mainly on terrestrial consumer-oriented telecommunication projects. As a minimum, 10 small prototyping projects will be conducted focusing on developing new technology concepts for satellite communication in the domain of optical communication with lasers, LEDs and super luminescent diodes. Besides, the activity will also include topics related to Photonics. A prime contractor will be responsible for managing the separate individual development contracts placed with suitable entities from the Makerspace. The prime contractor will coordinate and manage the activities of the group and will oversee the prototyping projects. Initially four activities will be defined by ESA and requested as part of the Statement of Work. Tentative proposals for these four activities are a wide-angle 10bps optical transmitter, a cost-effective tracking detector, a sky background measurement campaign and a COTS fibre communication laser to free-space conversion experiment. The subsequent projects will be defined by ESA, in consultation with the prime contractor, during the course of the activity. This will allow aligning the prototyping projects with the developments that will be taking place in the optical communication community. The activity will target SMEs and industries that do not usually engage with ESA to implement such prototyping projects. The activity will also engage with the community of start-up companies, university spin-offs, very small companies often implementing projects in the spirit of open source hardware and full sharing of intellectual property.Procurement Policy: C(2) = A relevant participation(interms of quality and quantity) of non-primes (incl. SMEs) is required. For additional information please go to EMITS news “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes”.

Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Nicole Rinaudo
Initiating Service: TIA-TIS
IP Measure: C2
Prog. Reference: E/0534-05A – OP-Other Act. Prod.
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 17-C-II-Micro- & Nano-Photonics
Products Keywords: 2-G-1.1-a-Detectors *See AOCS&GNC / 2-G-1.1-b-Electronics (elector-optic modules) / 2-G-1.1-c-Laser sources, modulators / 2-G-1.1-d-Telescopes / 2-G-1.1-f-Software

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