15, January 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10584
Open Date: 14/01/2021
Closing Date: 26/02/2021 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.197.09
Prog. Ref.: Discovery
Budget Ref.: E/0600-06 – Discovery
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 50-100 KEURO
Products: Satellites & Probes / Other
Technology Domains: Others
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Systems Department
Division: Adv. Concepts & Studies Office
Contract Officer: Knuter, Mateusz
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 14/01/2021
Update Reason: Tender issue

With the advent of space-based Internet providers (e.g. Starlink, OneWeb, ) the communications with satellites can be potentially revolutionized. The paradigm of relying on ground stations at strategic Geo-locations to downlink data from LEO satellites at high speed, once per orbit can be potentially challenged. Assuming a scenario where LEO satellites (or space missions in general) can access the internet via a space-based internet provider, satellites can potentially be connected to the network permanently (24×7) and act as mere terminals. Data can be available on demand, regardless of the satellite position. This has the potential to change dramatically the way satellites will be operated in the future. This activity aims at doing a feasibility study of using space-based internet providers for space missions, first by doing a research and analysis of current and near future space-based internet providersand their services and then by doing a feasibility analysis of using the identified services in space missions. The analysis shallfocus on understanding if, in principle, it will be feasible to use space-based internet services according to the characteristics ofthe providers and the characteristics of typical space missions. The analysis is expected to investigate also to which extend such a solution can be useful for a primary or secondary communication mechanism and to point out any limitations. The analysis shall also investigate spacecraft aspects such as having a space-based terminal and outline the needed modifications to typical spacecraft architectures such a solution may bring. Finally, assuming that in principle such a solution would be possible, the analysis shall cover the next steps for its development and exploitation.

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