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Opportunity: Concepts for ultra-large aperture antennas (ARTES FPE 1A.113)

Satellite antenna size and the data throughput achievable in a satellite communications channel are directly related, but the benefits from an increased aperture size can also be used to enable access to smaller ground antennas or to improve quality of signal (QoS), as well as increase data throughput. As well as gain, increasing satellite antenna size also enables increased spatial discrimination, enabling greater frequency reuse across a given service area. With the satellite industry's shift from a broadcast model to a connectivity-based approach comes increased competition with terrestrial networks, and a corresponding need to increase total system throughput and spectrum utilisation. The result has been greater interest in larger antenna systems for telecommunications missions. 

ESA invites new proposals for EU Secure Connectivity programme

ESA has been a key partner of European industry around secure connectivity for more than 25 years, boosting innovation and competitiveness and facilitating the timely delivery of the most advanced SATCOM solutions worldwide through its telecommunication programme (ARTES). 

Opportunity: Towards Standardised Inter-Satellite Link Solutions (ARTES FPE 1A.116)

There has been a steady growth  in the number of new satcom systems announcing plans to make use of RF Inter-Satellite Link technology. In addition to reducing the complexity and cost of the associated terrestrial infrastructure, ISL technology can enable additional networking functionality, increase service area provision, enhance data security, and increase congestion load balancing capabilities. With this growth comes a transformation of ISL-related systems and equipment, from bespoke, project-specific hardware to a more productised offering and associated value chain.   

REISSUED - Opportunity: Single Channel Full Duplex Techniques for Satellite Communications (ARTES FPE 1B.133)

In most satellite communication systems, full duplex operation (i.e., simultaneous transmit and receive functionality) is achieved by using two separate frequency channels with spectral filtering employed to achieve the required isolation between signals. With ever-increasing data volume demands accompanied by pressure to reduce the cost per bit delivered, new techniques to utilise the available radio frequency (RF) spectrum more efficiently are continually needed. Simultaneously transmitting and receiving information in a single frequency channel has already proven a viable approach in other wireless communication application domains and has the potential to double total system throughput. Such systems typically employ a combination of both analogue and digital Self-Interference Cancellation (SIC) techniques, together with a careful antenna design and a suitable placement, to achieve the necessary isolation between transmit and receive signals, and such techniques have therefore advanced rapidly over the last few years. Single channel full duplex operation has consequently been supported within consumer (cable) networks since the release of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 4.0 in 2017, and integrated wireless access and backhaul for 5G using full duplex is also now becoming a reality. Long-Term Evolution (LTE) products are already available using full duplex such as LTE User Equipment Relays which enable a small cell LTE eNodeB to backhaul to an LTE macro base station using the same access frequencies for both the small cell and the macro network.

5G end-to-end link first at ESA 5G hub

A demonstration at the ESA/ECSAT facilities in Harwell today achieved the first 5G full end-to-end link through a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. The event used a super compact electronic antenna terminal, powered by SatixFy UK, to connect to the Low Earth Orbit satellite constellation operated by OneWeb.