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ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10499
Open Date: 19/10/2022 14:00 CEST
Closing Date: 30/01/2023 13:00 CEST

The objective of the activity is to develop and validate a reference high-throughput IP core to be used as a basis for universal satellite-terrestrial connectivity in 5G user equipment. The development will support both 5G New Radio (NR) Terrestrial and Non-Terrestrial (satellite) Networks and will be compliant with 3GPP Release 17. The target maximum throughput will be in the order of hundreds of Mbps requiring specialised hardware (e.g. FPGAs). The narrower 5G carriers will also be supported. The IP core will be tested and validated in a laboratory environment. Targeted Improvements: Enabling 5G user equipment with integrated satellite-terrestrial connectivity. Description: Manufacturers of User Equipment (UE) rely on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components to create their products. Specialised suppliers take care of the technical complexity within these building blocks allowing the UE manufacturer to focus on the design and integration of the terminal. Any functionality not available as COTS is not considered. Hence, the importanceofhaving 5G COTS chipsets that provide not only terrestrial, but also satellite connectivity. They would attract more device makers to add satellite interfaces to their products without requiring them to have specialised satellite skills. The development of a commercial chipset is technically challenging, it entails significant risks and requires a large amount of resources. Companies do not engage in such endeavour unless they see a very clear commercial opportunity. On the other hand, satellite communications are a small market that makes the development even riskier. It is therefore very unlikely that industry will start the development of a chipset for universal 5G satellite-terrestrial connectivity without support. To fill this gap and take the first steps to derisk and thus enable future developments, this activity will develop and validate a reference IP core to provide user equipment with universal satellite-terrestrial 5G connectivity. The IP core will implement the 3GPP Release 17 protocol stack including the New Radio (NR) Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) component and will be capable of simultaneously handling satellite and terrestrial narrowband and wideband links (downlink and uplink). The protocol stack will be operationally validated end to end to demonstrate full functionality and compatibility with the standards.Since portability, interoperability and development flexibility are absolutely critical for the usability and future adoption of the IP core, the activity will leverage existing technologies and terrestrial design paradigms including open architecture, universal components/interoperability, open source software and hardware, and software, firmware and hardware development kits. Moreover, the activity will develop and demonstrate the IP core integration in a minimal yet functioning User Equipment (UE) consisting of a commercial off-the-shelf processor, the IP core and the necessary RF interfaces/front ends. The processor will be typical of those found in commercial mobile terminals and will run a standard operating system. The activity will developthe necessary drivers to enable the communication with the IP core over a standard bus, also typical of mobile user devices. This prototype integration will serve not only as a test case for the validation of the IP core, but also as a reference model for its integration in user terminals and as a UE development kit. Hence, both the IP core and the prototype will be thoroughly documented. The reference implementation approach will leverage technologies and product philosophies commonly adopted in the terrestrial wirelessindustryto reduce cost and promote interoperability. The activity will promote the use of satellite across 5G networks.

Directorate: Directorate Telecom Integrated Applica
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Adriana Lucas
Initiating Service: TIA-TTG
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-03A - 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 1-A-I-System Technologies for Payload Data Processing / 6-A-III-Networking Techniques
Products Keywords: 4-B-2-a-Transmitter and Receiver assemblies, Frequency converters / 4-B-3-a-Telemetry and Telecommand equipment, Tracking, Ranging and Doppler measurement equipment, CODECS

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