30, October 2020

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10214
Open Date: 23/10/2020
Closing Date: 15/01/2021 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.1TT.34
Prog. Ref.: CC-AT 4.0.1
Budget Ref.: E/0534-01G – CC-AT 4.0.1
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / “Communication – BB (Antennas excluded)” / Other
Technology Domains: RF Systems, Payloads and Technologies / Telecommunication Systems/Subsystems / Networking Techniques
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Telecom & Integrated Applica
Department: Telecom Technologies,Product&Systems Dep
Division: Technologies and Products Division
Contract Officer: Beardsell, Andrea
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 23/10/2020
Update Reason: Tender issue

The objective of the activity is to develop congestion-aware, Quality-of-Service-aware, multipath routing and network management protocols for constellations with large number of satellites equipped with inter-satellite links (RF and optical). The protocols will be implemented and tested in a software testbed. Targeted Improvements: Enabling performance-based data routing for largeconstellations with inter-satellite links, not existing today. Description: Large constellations generally require a complex groundnetwork with a significant number of gateways. The reason is that they can only provide services if one is sufficiently close to the users. This is particularly problematic in remote or oceanic areas. Moreover, remote gateways and the network they connect to may be compromised which is critical for security. Large constellation operators have therefore a great incentive to adopt alternatives that reduce the complexity of the ground segment and improve the networks security. Inter-satellite links are a well-known concept that can achieve those goals. However, they raise major issues such as the need for on-board routing and network management (RNM)mechanisms. Unlike terrestrial networks with fixed nodes, these mechanisms need to cope with the constant motion of the satellites that continuously changes the network topology. Work has been done in this area and, for example, finding the shortest path in a LEOconstellation is a well-treated problem. Besides motion, on-board RNM mechanisms unavoidably face the dynamics of the own networktraffic. Existing solutions can only partially address it given the complexity of the problem and the limited on-board resources. For example, finding the best path in a non-uniformly congested network with network flows of different QoS classes while making thebest use of the capacity is a major challenge. However, the technology leap in space microelectronics has significantly increased the available computing power enabling more sophisticated RNM mechanisms that may solve some of the current limitations. This activity will therefore develop on-board RNM mechanisms capable of finding the best path in a non-uniformly congested and dynamic networkwith different QoS classes while making the best use of the capacity. Both RF and optical inter-satellite links will be studied. The developments will be validated via simulations in a testbed which includes a hardware emulator.

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