30, June 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10500
Open Date: 28/06/2021 17:07 CEST
Closing Date: 07/10/2021 13:00 CEST

The objective of the activity is to develop and validate a reference low-throughput Engineering Bread Board (EBB) for universal satellite-terrestrial 5G User Equipment (UE). The EBB will be a fully functioning prototype that will support both 5G Terrestrial and Non-Terrestrial (satellite) Networks. The target throughput will be in the order of Mbps to allow using Software Defined Radio technologies and generic hardware (e.g. general purpose and/or digital signal processors) in its implementation. The performance and 3GPP compliance will be validated in a laboratory environment. Targeted Improvements: Enabling key building blocks for the development ofuniversal satellite-terrestrial 5G user terminals. Description: 3GPP’s body of open standards and the interoperability it brings along have enabled a competitive terrestrial wireless communication market with numerous network providers and equipment manufacturers. More importantly, this has allowed to offer communication services appealing to the general public who has massively adopted them.Satellite networks, on the other hand, have traditionally been proprietary and closed. This results in service premiums, equipment premiums, and terms and conditions only acceptable to a limited number of users. However, the success achieved by 3GPP in givingterrestrial networks access to a vast number of subscribers has pointed the way for satellite networks. Now, there is an increasingdesire among satellite operators, systems integrators, and end users to move towards interoperability. Moreover, the satellite industry has realised that it could tap into the immense pool of terrestrial users if satellite were part of 3GPP as a Non-Terrestrial Network(NTN) component. The concept of a Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) component was introduced in Release 16 of 3GPP, and it represents asignificant opportunity for the satellite industry. It can enable a significant number of devices that drive satellite usageand bandwidth consumption. However, before device manufacturers engage in developing user equipment for the mass market, the underlying building blocks and architectures need to be mature, stable and commercially ready. To achieve this, the terrestrial communications industry provides development kits to early integrators to kick-start the market and showcase early applications. Taking the same approach for satellite, this activity will develop and validate an Engineering Bread Board (EBB) for 5G User Equipment (UE) that providesuniversal satellite-terrestrial connectivity. The EBB will be a fully-functioning 3GPP-compliant prototype based on building blocks. These blocks will consist of common UE functions such as RF front ends, modulators, demodulators, coders, decoders, network functions (e.g. log in, authentication, identity management, mobility), protocol stacks, user interface and management tools. The target data rates will allow using Software Defined Radio technologies and generic hardware in the EBB’s implementation. The activity will consolidate a reference design, architecture, interfaces, and will identify and develop building blocks and modules that can be used as a basis for developing universal satellite-terrestrial 5G user terminals. To promote interoperability and operational flexibility, the activity will leverage existing technologies and terrestrial design paradigms including software defined architectures/functionality, over-the-air configuration, open architecture, universal components/interoperability, open source software and hardware, andsoftware, firmware and hardware development kits. The activity will integrate the building blocks into a fully functioning UE prototype that will be validated in several 5G satellite scenarios in a laboratory environment. The compliance to 3GPP standards will also be validated including testing against a commercial gNodeB implementation or professional test measurement equipment. The activity will also implement the tool chains that will allow third parties to use this reference UE Engineering Bread Board and Software Development Kit (SDK) in their projects, supported by high quality documentation. The activity will raise awareness in the 5G and mobile operator communities about satellite communications, and 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
Contracts Officer: Audrey Ferreol
Initiating Service: TIA-TFC
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-03A – 5G-Other Act. Prod&T
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 6-A-I-Telecom System Engineering Tools / 6-A-II-Telecom Signal 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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