10, September 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10684
Open Date: 02/09/2021 17:04 CEST
Closing Date: 18/11/2021 13:00 CEST

The objective of this activity is to design, develop and test RF Hardware and firmware of a ship-borne user terminal for the VHF Data Exchange Systems, which mitigates the interference and channel impairments.Targeted Improvements: To improve the VHF link quality by at least 5 dB and reduce the outage by a factor of 2 while maintaining an acceptable form factor for a circularly polarized VHF antenna. Description: satellite and terrestrial links. Major limitations of existing system include VHF communication channel impairments (such as multipath fading) and different sources of in-band interference. Such technical challenges can hamper the availability and reliability of the VDES as a communication system. Preliminary investigation of new antenna and front-end RF design has shown promising results. For example, a recent over-the-air experiment with a Circularly Polarised Probe has shown a significant (4-5 dB)improvement in the link quality. This opens up the possibility for a new antenna design concept that may also benefit from recent techniques used in miniaturised space-based VHF antenna developments. In other experiments, a receiver diversity has also shown improvements in the link quality. Alternative solutions also at protocol level are under investigation to perform interference management between the terrestrial and satellite components of the VDES integrated satellite-terrestrial communication system. This proposed activity aims to investigate innovative techniques and technologies for the shipborne VDES terminal sub-systems, including the antenna, RF front end and baseband signal processing to enhance significantly the VDES reception and transmission quality, taking into account the recent allocation of the VHF frequency bands for the ship-to-satellite and satellite-to-ship transmission, as recently approved by WRC19. The proposed techniques will also target to address the interference among the terrestrial and satellite components ofthe VDES, by using the capabilities of the VDES air interface and innovative designs at the receiver to deal with such interference. This activity encompasses the following tasks:- Carry out innovative design of antennas, RF sub-systems of the shipborne terminal;- Define and consolidate requirements of the new frequency plans and the operational concepts of VDES;- Ship-borne VHF antenna sizing and radiation requirements, considering the satellite-ship geometry as well as channel impairments, particularly caused by multi-path fading;- Signal processing techniques to enhance the VDE Satellite downlink reception (ship-borne) and VDE-Satellite uplink transmission;- Development of the recent VDE Satellite protocol according to the recent ITU recommendation for VDE (following WRC19);- Verify and revise if necessary the characteristics of implemented sub-systems.A shipborne user terminal prototype shall be developed and tested.Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes”.

Directorate: Directorate Telecom Integrated Applica
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Nicole Rinaudo
Initiating Service: TIA-TT
IP Measure: C1
Prog. Reference: E/0534-01G – CC-AT 4.0.1
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 6-A-IV-Telecom Equipment
Products Keywords: 1-A-1-a-*See Software

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