Opportunity: Space System Design of satellite constellations

Space System Design of satellite constellations (including security aspects for governmental and institutional services)

ESA-STAR Reference: AO11197
Opening date: 23 June 2022
Closing date: 06 October 2022


The telecom world is seeing many Non-GeoStationary Orbit (NGSO) constellation projects being developed that aim to bring high-speed connectivity worldwide. These projects have a broad range of architectures, aimed at serving both governmental and mass markets, and rely on advanced radio and network techniques (Q/V bands, 5G core networks, etc.). While some solutions are emerging, the industry is still in need of efficient tools to perform trade-off analysis for system design on the scale of whole constellations on orbits ranging from LEO to GEO.

The activity is aimed at funding the development of design methodologies and software tools, to support European and Canadian industry in the improvement or acquisition of design capabilities for future secure satcom constellations.


The software being developed will model and offer optimisation methods for all aspects of the design of a communications constellation, including:

  • Constellation deployment
  • Coverage optimisation
  • Radio Resource Management
  • Intersatellite Links optimisation, including routing optimisation and latency improvements
  • Mobility aspects

To run optimisation on the best possible simulations of the system, the software will need to simulate all layers of communication and effects of the transmission environment on these layers (radio interference and propagation models, payload performance, network packet loss, etc.) and allow the evaluation of several performance indicators, with many satellites and terminals in the loop.

Indeed, with a scope focussed firmly on large NGSO constellations, the software will need to be flexible and scalable to the design of constellations of several hundreds of satellites, and up to a million terminals.

As this activity is objective-based, it is compatible with the further improvement of existing products. 


For this activity, the Agency has defined a maximum budget of 1,000,000 EUR. 


We are looking for companies which have the software development skills to create and implement this new product. They should have some experience of space-related software and/or be involved in the development of the next generation of satellite constellations in Europe. 

This includes companies already 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.

Bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal and are advised to contact them early in the bidding process.


Responding to an open competitive Invitation to Tender (ITT) requires 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 some cases, a bid significantly involving actors from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom or Canada can be prioritised for the win, even if it was not ranked first. See the tender documents for more information.

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.

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