Opportunity: Next Generation 4S Satcom Solutions - Design (B1) Phases

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ESA-STAR reference: AO 1-10940
Invitation to Tender: Next Generation 4S Satcom Solutions - Design (B1) Phases
(ARTES 4.0 4S SPL 3A.150 / 4S.011)
Opening date: 7 November 2022
Closing date: 31 January 2023


With the new Strategic Programme Line “Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S)” created in 2019, ESA Member States have decided to focus and expand their efforts on the benefits that tailored Next Generation SatCom (satellite communication) solutions could bring to our digital infrastructure in terms of increased resilience, security, autonomy, capacity, and coverage.

The last two years confirmed the expectations for growth of worldwide demand in this domain, with prospects for large opportunities triggered or reinforced by public initiatives. Considering the fast pace of other international initiatives in this domain, the goal of 4S is to help new satcom opportunities from the European Space Agency (ESA) ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) 4S Member States to reach a full-scale implementation stage as early as possible. 

All kinds of solutions can be envisaged, i.e., GEO, MEO or LEO based solutions, as well as a wide set of use cases, with some special interest for: 

  • Broadband services, where attention is given to systems supporting simultaneously governmental communication services with very high security requirements and “mass market” communication services with a strong focus on the cost-of-service provision, hence requiring innovative approach at all levels: system, space segment, ground segment and user segment. Use cases concerning fixed users, mobile platforms and mobile users equipped of handheld terminals are all of interest in the study and may be considered,
  • Low data rate services, in particular in support to public-regulated missions (e.g. aeronautical surveillance, maritime surveillance, safety-of-life mobile communications services, …), where all approaches, from solutions dedicated to a single use case, to condo-constellations able to effectively host a set of such missions, have potential in fulfilling the needs.

The present Invitation To Tender (ITT) is very much focussed on identifying and selecting industry proposals having credible prospects, and on helping them in reaching a maturity of Phase B1 level at the end of the study in view of a development phase starting first half of 2023 with ambitious deployment timelines.


The objective of this ITT is to consolidate the design of promising next generation solutions addressing European or global satcom use cases with strong safety, security and sovereignty requirements and implications. This initiative intends to support industry to mature their technical solution and programmatic proposals, in anticipation of the ESA ministerial council meeting of 2022 where ESA support for a later implementation stage could be decided.

The study will be devoted to the detailed analysis and definition of the selected baseline system concept and of the corresponding architecture elements. A mature technical and programmatic baseline will be established, expected to be the core of the later proposals for potential Phases B2/C/D/E1.

The Contractor shall also define a baseline concept of operations compatible with the mission profile and mission objectives. The development approach shall be defined, and the associated rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost estimates shall be provided.

In summary, the main activities to be performed under the responsibility of the Contractor are:

  • Consolidate the proposed Mission Requirements, the definition of system requirements and their decomposition down to subsystem and main unit level
  • Perform the consolidation of the system architecture and mission baseline
  • Consolidate the technical definition of the space, ground, and user elements baseline, including design, modelling, concept of operations, disposal phase strategy
  • Consolidate all the external interfaces (launcher, users, etc.)
  • Identify any critical spacecraft/payload/ground technology activities and pre-developments and any further critical activity required for risk mitigation purposes


For this activity that is to be co-funded by the bidder (at least 25%), the Agency has defined a maximum budget of 3,000,000 EUR per contract.


With this activity, the Agency is interested in supporting European actors engaged in endeavours for the development and deployment of next-generation satellite systems addressing European or global Satcom use cases with strong safety, security and sovereignty requirements and implications. 

For this ITT, companies or organisations residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, 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 the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the case 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 [see: https://esastar.sso.esa.int/].


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.

Register here for the webinar “4S Opportunities: preparing end-to-end solutions and their critical building blocks, products and technologies for Next Generation secure SATCOM communications” at 11:00 CET on 09 February 2022.

Webinar slides [PDF]

Published 26 January 2022
Last updated at 08 November 2022 - 12:02