The maritime community, supported by International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) are embarking on a new maritime data exchange mechanism: the VHF Data Exchange System, or VDES. VDES will provide for robust Ship-to-Ship and Ship-to-Shore communications in the new communications architecture that IMO is designing as part of their e-Navigation initiative. VDES is proposed to be used as a universal communication bearer for future eNavigation and maritime safety information dissemination. VDES could also play a role in the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) and as such would carry various traffic supporting the safety, security and search&rescue operations. The regulatory aspectsof VDES are covered by Agenda Item 1.16 for the WRC-15. The European industry, which is working on the terrestrial communicationsof VDES, has also expressed its interest for a satellite component. The same European industrial community has also expressed interest for support from ESA in this domain. Initial contributions from ESA in different fora have also confirmed the broad interest ofthe maritime community for such a satellite component for the VDES: IMO and IALA have expressed interested to support such a studywith user and mission requirements feedback. The objective of this activity is therefore to perform a first feasibility assessmentof such a system with the aim at (1) Identifying the benefits and constraints of a dedicated infrastructure with respect to a network that could be supported by existing satellite space segments (e.g. Inmarsat, Thuraya or Iridium) (2) Defining any roadmap for preparing the ARTES participating states industry in supporting the development of any such service / system (3) Contributing to the preparation of the WRC-15 from the technical point of view. The logic of the activity will implement the following steps as a minimum (1) Collect the user requirements and the mission requirements (2) Establish the system requirements (3) Implement two branches of thestudy: (a): Dedicated system design: this shall imply the selection of the most adequate part of the spectrum, a synthesis of the propagation issues, a first approach for designing the air interface, specifying and designing the space segment, the user segment and the ground segment, plus assessing the Rough Order of Magnitude programmatic elements of each segments (price, schedule, â¦). (b):Integrated approach with existing satellite infrastructures: this shall imply the review of existing user segments, the decision todesign / or not a new user segment / ground segment, and the assessment of the corresponding effort and costs. (4) Compare the solutions obtained through (3)(a) and 3(b) (5) Promote the results in the fora of interest (6) Define roadmaps that would support the ARTES participating states in developing technologies and products to answer to the market expectations.