26, October 2015

ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8457
Open Date: 21/10/2015
Closing Date: 02/12/2015

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 15.197.09
Prog. Ref.: General Studies
Budget Ref.: E/0600-00 – General Studies
Tender Type: C
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Technical & Quality Manag
Department: System, Software & Technology Department
Division: Future Prep. & Strategic Studies Off.
Contract Officer: Casini, Gian Lorenzo
Last Update Date: 21/10/2015
Update Reason: Tender issue

Optical space technologies have matured and are now ready to be applied in commercial satellite communication systems, bringing with them significant advantages such as much higher data rates, low probability of intercept, no restriction for frequency use, lower payload volume and mass and less power consumption requirements. The demonstration of the feasibility of high speed laser communications by the European Data Relay System (EDRS) and other parallel demonstrations have made it possible for commercial operators to consider developing all optical satellite constellations or to use optical communications for some of the telecommunication functions (i.e. inter-satellite communications and optical feeder links), serving broadband needs of institutional and commercial users around the world. The primary objectives of this study will be to:

  • Examine the state-of-the art of the technology and maturity of components
  • Define services and topologies of interest (interconnecting optical fiber-head ends, traffic concentrators or financial centers) and examine the merits of using such a solution versus a non-optical HTS satellite solution, iteratively with satellite operators and/or telecommunication service providers
  • Define suitable system architectures for an all-optical network (constellation, placement of ground terminals, diversity solutions) or for systems using optical communications for a subset of functions
  • Provide a clear roadmap on the end-to-end architecture of such a system and assess technology gaps that would need to be covered
  • Identify potential areas where more development is required to make such a system feasible and price competitive (e.g. development of inexpensive optical ground terminals, hybrid network solutions for efficient and seamless interconnection with terrestrial optical networks, intra-satellite optical connections)
  • The activity encompasses a combination of technology push and user needs pull and will require concurrent engineering approaches to iteratively converge into the right combination of user requirements and possibilities offered by existing or planned technology.

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