14, July 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10779
Open Date: 12/07/2021 20:33 CEST
Closing Date: 31/08/2021 13:00 CEST

Objectives:The objective of this activity is to study current and upcoming CCSDS protocol stacks (such as Bundle Protocol, Licklider Transport Protocol (LTP), Unified Space Data Link Protocol (USLP), O3K), how they fit together and optimise the overall performance with the aim to support Earth observation downlink scenarios with data rates up to 10 Gbit/sec over frequency bands affected by atmospheric conditions (optical / K-Band). The study shall identify potential protocol performance issues for on-board and on-groundimplementations, define required protocol improvements and provide prototypic on-board and on-ground implementations for re-transmission of lost data. In particular, the study shall look into the option to standardise an Automatic Repetition Request (ARQ) scheme(potentially based on an evolution of LTP) for optical direct-to-Earth links in order to replace the proprietary solutions currently in use.Description:Upcoming Earth observation missions will feature very high downlinks rates over less reliable links (K-Band/ Optical). Supporting such high rates may require the adoption of new standards like the Unified Space Data Link Protocol allowinglarger frame sizes and the re-transmission of data segments like done in the CCSDS LTP protocol or private ARQ schemes. The less predictable nature of optical downlinks makes it even more necessary to seek into alternatives like a more networked communication paradigm.The activity aims to solve the following needs:- High data rate downlinks (up to 10 Gbit/sec) for less reliable communication links (K-Band / Optical) for Earth Observation missions- Networked communication for LOP-G (Bundle Protocol, LTP, USLP are in the communication requirements for LOP-G) and (commercial) optical ground station providers (from a pass-based to a data-volume-basedground station scheduling approach)- Standardised optical direct-to-Earth communication (standardised ARQ protocol instead of thecurrent proprietary protocols).The activity shall consist of the following tasks: – Define communication protocol stacks for high-rate payload data downlink including configuration of the individual protocol layers. This shall take typical optical and K-Bandscenarios into account (with/without uplink), typical link characteristics (scintillation, cloud coverage, weather effects) and variable coding modulation (VCM).- Identify shortcomings in applicable CCSDS standards wrt to performance of on-board (hardware) and on-ground (software) implementations, define alternatives, simulate and validate those.- Analyse whether CCSDS LTP or a variantthereof could be a standardised alternative for the private ARQ schemes currently in use in optical direct-to-Earth links based on the uplink beacon.- Provide prototypes of on-board (FPGA) and on-ground implementations of an open ARQ scheme. Prototypes should make use of available implementations and IP cores such as LTP implementation (ground) and the USLP encoder/decoder prototype (on-board).-Implement the qualification model integrating the prototypes above.- Validate the open ARQ scheme with the on-board andthe ground prototypes with simulated linkcharacteristics.- Provide input for further standardisation and guidelines for performant implementations.Deliverables:Breadboard, Report, Software.

Directorate: Directorate of Operations
Estabilishment: ESOC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Marta Rodriguez Perulero
Initiating Service: OPS-GSB
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0904-611 – GSTP Element 1 Dev
Tender Type: Open Competition
Open To Tenderers From: DE
Technology Keywords: 12-A-III-Microwave and Optical Active/Passive Systems / 16-C-VI-Optical Communications
Products Keywords: 4-B-5-Ground Station Monitoring & Control

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