UPDATE: Following requests by industry, the deadline for submitting a Notification of Intent has been extended until 23 March 2016 12:00pm.
Over the past two years both the European Council and the EU Competitiveness Council have called for the preparation of the next generation of governmental satellite communications, through close cooperation among Member States, EDA, the EC and ESA. In line with its Long Term Plan, ESA is already supporting this initiative with preparatory studies under its ARTES programme.
As a further preparatory step, ESA is issuing this announcement for GOVSATCOM Precursor developments to industry. Based on the response and after discussion with its Member States, ESA then intends to submit a proposal to the 2016 ESA Ministerial Council, for a decision on the most appropriate programmatic framework for 2019/20 Precursors. This framework will be closely coordinated with EDA and the EC because the ESA preparatory actions are in support of a possible future EU-led operational GOVSATCOM Programme.
Mrs Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, underlines that "this announcement is an element of ESA’s dialogue with European industry to support its competitiveness in the domain of secure satellite communications. It provides industry with the opportunity to enter into partnership with ESA on technology development and in-orbit service demonstration for one or more GOVSATCOM Precursors. It also allows ESA industrial partners to be part of the preparations for a GOVSATCOM operational programme early in the process; and to capitalise on the expertise of service providers and manufacturers operating mostly in a commercial framework. ESA expects industry to define its own priorities in line with its own business plans, based on the needs identified in the preparatory studies by EDA, EC and ESA. These priorities can be further consolidated in dialogue with ESA and in coordination with EDA and EC."
Industry are hereby encouraged to send ESA a notice of intent to submit an outline proposal, following the procedure set out in the fuller description of the opportunity which can be found in the attached document.