MEGA APPS - Mega-Constellations as Enablers for New Services and Applications Opportunities


This activity aims at identifying and analysing services and applications based on mega-constellations. More in detail, the objectives are:

  • To identify promising services/applications opportunities, by characterising the added value brought by mega-constellation systems wrt. state-of-the-art solutions and assessing the business opportunity.
  • To define the details of these services/applications by collecting related user needs and requirements and deriving accordingly the system requirements and overall system architecture.
  • To identify the required actions and actors to be involved for their implementation and commercial roll-out, covering software or hardware developments, regulatory/standardisation actions, business activities, risks assessment, and eventually the definition of a roadmap.


The key challenges of the study are:

  • The correct interpretation of the users’ needs, for the best identification of new services/applications or improvement of existing ones.
  • The definition of assumptions about mega-constellations and user terminal features, performances and costs, in advance to the actual mega-constellations deployment.
  • The analysis and design of a set of applications from different market sectors, characterised by very different needs and requirements.


Mega-constellations are expected to introduce a major change in the telecommunication services, which are now dominated by geostationary solutions, in particular introducing new service opportunities.

The services identified in this study are all based on the unique features and benefits of mega-constellations, going beyond the current state-of-the-art of geostationary satellite services. This study also contributes to improve the industry competitiveness and awareness of the opportunities promised by the mega-constellations.


Several kinds of applications, exploiting the mega-constellation features and performances, have been investigated in this study. They are listed below, together with the relevant market sector:

  • Energy sector: remote office and situational awareness applications
  • Transport sector: RPAS commanding/control and payload data relay applications

System Architecture

Following users interviews and opportunities investigation, a set of services (listed below) have been further identified and the relevant architectures have been defined:

  • Remote office for oil&gas infrastructure management
  • Energy infrastructure monitoring and control system
  • RPAS connectivity for worldwide cargo transport
  • Autonomous vessel operations in remote/Arctic areas
  • Enhanced situational awareness in the Arctic

In addition several mega-constellations are considered in this study, taking into account related terminal types and technologies: Iridium Next, OneWeb, LeoSat, and O3B. 


The activity is structured in four logical tasks and three reviews: First Review (R1), Second Review (R2) and Final Review (FR).

Task 1 addresses the service requirements and architecture. In Task 3 the business case is analysed, while in Task 2 the possible technical gaps are identified. Finally, in Task 4 a ranking of the services is performed and, for the two most promising ones, an implementation roadmap established.

During the execution of the study activities, the users have provided requirements and feedback on the identified services.

Current status

After the definition of the assumptions about mega-constellations and user terminal performances, the end users have been interviewed identifying the requirements for new service opportunities in the Energy and Transport market sectors. Then, the system requirements and architectures have been defined. The Task 1 activities have been completed, the First Review (R1) activities are on-going. The Task 2 and Task 3 activities are about to start following successful completion of R1.


ESA Contacts

Status date

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 11:44