ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-11196
Open Date: 12/08/2022 10:03 CEST
Closing Date: 04/11/2022 13:00 CEST

Objective: The objective of the activity is to design, develop, and test in laboratory conditions a miniaturised prototype of L-band UAV transceiver(s), including the antenna. The activity will also develop a testbed, which shall evaluate link availability and link performance in all UAV flight phases for GEO and LEO missions. Targeted Improvements: Provide as close as possible to 100% satellite link availability during E2E flights of UAVs. Facilitate the usage of the satellite link for L-band payload and C2 UAV services and ignite this satellite market. Description: Recently interest of supporting UAVs communications at L-band via satellite has grown, driving new challenges such as being able to offer satellite link availability and link performance in all flight phases (i.e including take-off, landing and banking) and at low altitudes. Many UAVs have the capability to operate at beyond radio line of sight (BRLOS) conditions in unregulated remote air spaces where a terrestrial link might not be available, requiring the need for satellite transceivers able to ensure satellite connectivity in the maximum experienced pitch and roll angles. State-of-the-art UAV satellite transceivers are developed for smooth operation under level flight and cannot guarantee satellite connectivity in such extreme pitch/roll conditions. Moreover, low altitude flight can lead to signal blocking by terrain features and, depending on the location of deployment, it might require multiple satellite transceivers on board the UAVs and/or satellite diversity. This activity will therefore target the design, development and laboratory testing of L-band UAVs transceiver solution(s), including the antenna, that are able to ensure link availability and link performance in extreme pitch/roll angles. Improvements to the physical layer algorithms of payload data and command and control communications, such as more robust MODCODs to allow connectivity at low elevations will be also sought. The transceiver(s) solutions shall be of equivalent size, weight and performance to the state of art of miniaturized commercial products, to ensure their equipage by low size UAVs. Performance of the transceiver(s) will be tested in the laboratory in terms of throughput, availability, latency and reliability while considering different roll, pitch, yaw angles and direction of arrival from different orbits, as required from all the UAV flight phases and in the presence of different emulated ground morphology.

Directorate: Directorate Telecom Integrated Applica
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Nathalie Dorval
Initiating Service: TIA-TI
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-04A - 4S-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 6-A-II-Telecom Signal Processing / 6-A-IV-Telecom Equipment / 7-A-II-Reflector and Lens Antennas / 7-A-III-Array Antennas and Standalone Radiators
Products Keywords: 4-B-1-a-Structure & Thermal, Servo / Mechanics, Reflectors, feeds and diplexers, Antenna Control Units (ACUs), Drive Systems / 4-B-2-a-Transmitter and Receiver assemblies, Frequency converters

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