6, February 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10501
Open Date: 01/02/2021
Closing Date: 30/04/2021 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.1TF.10
Prog. Ref.: 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Budget Ref.: E/0534-03A – 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Ground Segment / Ground Station / Ground Station Monitoring & Control
Technology Domains: RF Systems, Payloads and Technologies / Telecommunication Systems/Subsystems / Telecom Signal Processing
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Telecom & Integrated Applica
Department: Telecom Technologies,Product&Systems Dep
Division: Future Projects Division
Contract Officer: Glandieres, Florence Odette Jeanne
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 01/02/2021
Update Reason: Tender issue

The objective of the activity is to extend OpenAirInterface, the open source software library for 5G wireless RD, to support satellite systems in both geostationary and non-geostationary orbits. The extension will implement a full 5G protocol stack (Release 16)for both the User Equipment (UE) and g-NodeB (gNB). Targeted Improvements: Enabling satcoms within key research and development tools used by the 5G community. Description: The OpenAirInterface (OAI) is an open source software tool created to facilitate the collaboration in RD activities for terrestrial cellular networks. Its current version implements up to 3GPP Release 15 therefore it does not support satellite. The concept of a Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) component was introduced later in Release 16. Each iteration of the 3GPP standard involves technical work and the exchange of technical information. This necessarily involves speaking a common language and working with tools that allow to exchange and compare results. The satellite community, on the other hand, has traditionally spoken a different language and has used different tools hindering the understanding and adoption of satcom in 3GPP. Hence, NTN was a remarkable achievement that required a significant effort. OpenAirInterface helps the 5G community to speak the same language, and to share and compare results. From Release 16, the satellite community has the opportunity to join this initiative and providethe wider 5G community with satcom tools readily available as part of the common framework. This would allow the 3GPP communityto integrate easily satcoms in simulation tools and development workflows fostering the understanding and adoption of satellite. ESA hastaken some small first steps by introducing functions and procedures to simulate Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) performance in geostationary systems. However, implementing an NTN component in an NGSO system requires a much bigger and dedicated effort. This activity will first identify the gaps in the OAI library to support both geostationary and non-geostationary satellite systems according tothe latest 3GPP specifications (Release 16) for the NTN scenario. The activity will then design, develop and validate the missingfunctions in the UE and gNB protocol stacks to support bi-directional communication links in 5G satellite networks. The validation will consist of an OAI-based software test bed implementing the selected scenario. The activity will disseminate the results in 3GPPto raise awareness in the 5G community about satcoms.

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