The objective of the activity is to enable 5G satellites nodes by extending to space terrestrial 5G network functions and protocols. Mechanisms to address the secure instantiation, control and management of the network functions on 5G satellite nodes will be addressed in order to enable optimised connectivity, coverage and capacity allocations. A testbed will be developed to demonstrate a 5G end-to-end network with integrated 5G satellite nodes.

Targeted Improvements: Enabling 5G satellite nodes.


5G network functions and their supporting protocols are being designed for terrestrial networks whose nodes are fixed and have small latencies. These features seriously hinder the role of satellite in 5G networks given their constant motion and typical larger propagation times. Future constellations, missions with regenerative payloads or inter-satellite links may not be part of 5G due to theinability of the underlying network functions and their supporting protocols to deal with satellite dynamics.

A key limitation is the inability to deploy on-board 5G nodes. To overcome this limitation, the activity will develop and validate the necessary adaptationsof 5G network interfaces and protocols to enable the secure instantiation and chaining of 5G network functions (User Plane Function-UPF-, Session Management Function -SMF-, Access and Mobility Management Function -AMF-, Policy Control Function -PCF-, ApplicationFunction -AF-, Data Network Function -DN-, Authentication Server Function -AUSF-, Unified Data Management -UDM-, Network SliceSelection Function -NSSF-) aboard satellites.

The activity will also develop and validate adaptations to the 5G network management and control mechanisms to allow seamless operations of the integrated end-to-end satellite-terrestrial network, the autonomous operations of the on-board nodes, and the optimum user data path forwarding for the provisioning of the services.

The activity will adaptand extend 5G signalling and management protocols to permit cooperative networking of space nodes, and to optimise connectivity, coverage and capacity allocations. The developments will be implemented and validated in a testbed (software-hardware) that will be developedas part of the activity.

Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes".

Tender Specifics