6, July 2015

ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8323
Open Date: 02/07/2015
Closing Date: 01/09/2015

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 15.164.11
Budget Ref.: E/0431-01 – AURORA MREP-2 S.E.1;E/0432-01 – AURORA MREP-2 S.E.2
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Science & Robotic Explor.
Department: Future Missions Preparation Office
Contract Officer: Arrabal, Pablo
Last Update Date: 02/07/2015
Update Reason: Tender issue

The activity is a follow on of the completed TRP activity: Dual UHF/X-band communications package study This activity targets the design, development and testing of breadboard of a communications package for planetary probes/landers/rovers which is able to communicate both with an Orbiter (for data relay) and directly to the Earth from the surface of Mars. The design is flexible to cope withthe different mission requirements, e.g. implementation of the UHF only capabilities, X-band functions o both while keeping compactunit dimensions and low mass. Mars missions typically implement a UHF proximity-link with a data-relay Orbiter as their primary link for returning science data. The use of relay links is attractive for reasons of power efficiency and higher possible data-rates compared to direct-to-Earth links. Nevertheless, in order to support communications during Entry Descent and Landing (EDL), for contingency cases or missions in which an orbiter cannot be guaranteed, the inclusion of a direct link to/from Earth in the X-band is required. The direct to Earth link will be implemented in the X-band Deep Space band frequency allocation. The direct link with Earth offers some advantages; it is not subject to the usual delay in operations due to the visibility of the orbiter from the Earth, allowing the possibility to upload operational commands in real time. This equipment could also be used besides the nominal surface operations, during the cruise phase, in emergency situations and for contingency operations, as well as during the entry, descent an landing (EDL) phase either by transmitting health status beacon tones or modulated telemetry. Instead of fitting two separate transponders into the constrained lander/rover, a single unit serving both UHF and X-band links would bring important savings in mass and volume without sacrificing functionality or mission safety.

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