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ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8405
Open Date: 27/08/2015
Closing Date: 05/11/2015

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 15.1TT.79
Prog. Ref.: ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1
Budget Ref.: E/0505-01B - ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Telecom & Integrated Applica
Department: Telecom Technologies,Product&Systems Dep
Division: Technologies and Product Division
Contract Officer: Rinaudo, Nicole
Last Update Date: 31/08/2015
Update Reason: Loaded a new Statement of Work (French version)

Government and commercial scenarios require high speed communications to/from UAVs operating over a area of crises or commercial interest. HD real-time videos as well as all the data generated by the on-board instruments bring the data rate requirement up to 500 Mbps. Terrestrial communication means allow only for LOS (line-of-sight) and limited bandwidth communications. The use of FSS and BSS satellites allows instead for BLOS (beyond-line of sight) high bandwidth communications but the airborne equipment market is dominated by U.S. and Israeli manufacturers. Important factors to be considered are the ITU frequency allocations for UAVs, the linkavailability and the cost and mass of the transceiver and the protocols used to transfer the data to the end user. Particularly the mass and power may represent an important limitation. In this respect, small antennas are also a must. Another critical point is the multiple access capabilities of the links and the coexistence of the terrestrial and satellite communication links. Maximization of the re-use of the same transceiver HW for both links should be encouraged. Other aspects to be considered are 1) support of non-GEO (HEO) satellites, 2) support of sense & avoid data stream, 3) data rate flexibility from 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps 4) possibility of integration also in smaller UAV's 5) security measures 6) telecommand and telemetry links 7) ACM to combat fading in low altitude (below clouds) operations as well as to cope with geographical position dependent attenuation variation 8) spot beam hand-over. 9) use of advanced protocols such as DTN (Disruption Tolerant Networking) for delivery of the data to the end user. 10) The use of higher frequency bands for high-flying UAVs. This activity shall first include a study phase where an optimized terminal architectural design is carried out, including the higher protocol layers using DTN. Next, the design of a prototype of a UAV baseband modem capable of transmitting data rates from 10 Mbps up to 500 Mbps shall be carried out. The modem shall also support bi-directional communications (asymmetry ratio around 1:20). The corresponding ground transceiver (with higher layer protocols) shall also be developed forthe sole purpose of testing. The developed high speed breadboards shall then be associated with a proper RF front end and a COTS antenna in Ka-band for demonstration and testing through any available Ka-band satellite capacity, using a rental plane. The activity shall investigate whether combining DTN, ACM, and cross-layer optimisations yields a system-wide optimisation. While the protoyping shall be restricted to Ka-band, the activity shall also consider the scenario and derive requirements for cases in which UAVs use higher frequency bands which can be used when flying above the clouds (e.g. Q/V-band as on TDP#5). The activity shall benefit from DTN developments underway in the GSP programme. Priority 2 activities will only be initiated on the explicit request of at least one delegation. For the full description of this activity and up-to-date intended issue quarter/intended issue week information, please consult the ARTES website: Procurement Policy: C(2) =A relevant participation (in terms of quality and quantity) of non-primes (incl. SMEs) is required. For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and R&D entities in ESA programmes".

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