Opportunity: Ground Network Dimensioning for Secure Satellite Constellations - Reissued

Credit: Petair
Image credit: Petair

ESA-STAR Reference: AO 11132

Opening date: 15 June 2022

Closing date: 29 August 2022


The world of telecommunications is seeing the development of many Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) constellation projects that aim to bring high-speed connectivity worldwide. These projects have a broad range of architectures, aim to serve both governmental and mass markets, and rely on advanced radio and network techniques (Q/V bands, 5G core networks, etc.). Some projects rely on federated multi-orbit constellations (for example, both LEO and MEO components), and require specific design tools.

In this fast-changing ecosystem, the ARTES 4.0 Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S) Strategic Programme Line is proposing to develop a ground segment planning tool that will support constellations in different orbits and help perform ground segment location and sizing trade-off on many aspects (coverage, latency, geopolitics, etc.).


The activity aims at providing capabilities for ground segment design which are not available today, in particular it will:

  • support constellations operating in different orbits (LEO, MEO) with different fade dynamics (due to the varying angular velocity with altitude) and with frequencies of operation up to and including Q/V band
  • allow the selection of optimal geographical gateway locations to satisfy several constraints of the constellation. These might include:
    • coverage 
    • link availability
    • system capacity 
    • number of gateway handovers,
    • terrestrial point-of-presence
    • proximity to point of interest
    • proximity to cloud-based services
    • geopolitical constraints
    • European sovereignty
  • carry out the sizing of the individual gateway premises location by optimising the required number of antennas as well as the sizing of the gateway (antenna diameter, output power),
  • rely both on weather statistical models and historical weather data bases when performing its ground network dimensioning and validation.

The developed algorithms will be tested, and their performance evaluated and validated using representative scenarios of future constellations to be developed. The objective of this tool will be the integration into a comprehensive Ground Network Dimensioning software suite, for example for use in the design phase of a future European or Canadian system. 


For this activity, the Agency has defined a maximum budget of 600,000 EUR. 


We are looking for companies with experience in satellite ground station networks, including operating Ground Station as a Service networks, which have the software development skills to create and implement this new tool, and are involved in the development of the next generation of satellite constellations in Europe. We are also looking for companies in the development stages of a new NGSO constellation, which would need such a tool to refine their constellation for future operation in a multi-orbit federation.

For this Invitation to Tender (ITT), companies or organisations residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.


Responding to an open competitive ITT requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals will result in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the event that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.

Your tender shall be submitted exclusively in electronic format via esa-star Tendering.


The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from esa-star and submitting their Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.

Published 17 June 2022
Last updated at 19 August 2022 - 13:33