The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA), which will see the strengthening of the synergy between satellite and terrestrial telecommunications players, with a view to unlock new potential in 5G and 6G connectivity on a global scale that’s both inclusive and sustainable.
In particular, the MOI will enable both parties to leverage each other’s expertise and strengths, offering conditions for seamless cooperation in fostering innovation, knowledge exchange and support around the innovation of 5G and 6G networks. The partnership will also accelerate the shared objective to integrate satellite and terrestrial networks and technologies.
The signature that took place on 2 February 2024 in Brussels, Belgium, between Acting Director of ESA’s Directorate of Connectivity and Secure Communications Javier Benedicto and Isabelle Mauro, Director General at GSOA, follows on from many successful years of the Agency’s collaboration with the global satellite industry body. GSOA offers a platform for collaboration between companies involved in the satellite sector and shares ESA’s ambition to resolve the digital divide across diverse geographies and developing economies.
“We are looking forward to working closer with GSOA on a series of joint initiatives and use our collective expertise to unlock the full potential of 5G and 6G technology towards a future where space-born connectivity is seamlessly integrated with terrestrial 5G/6G networks for the benefit of billions of users worldwide,” said Benedicto.
“By fostering collaboration and embracing innovation, we envision a future where every individual, regardless of location, enjoys the benefits of a connected world,” said Mauro.
ESA’s strategic programme line Space for 5G/6G, which forms part of the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) 4.0 programme within the Directorate of Connectivity and Secure Communications, supports and fosters the development of integrated applications and services. As well as building innovation hubs and testbeds, the programme demonstrates the essential requirements of satellites for 5G and 6G and sets the standards and frameworks for hybrid and downstream interoperability. It is also the base for integrating terrestrial networks with satellites.
Working closely with the European industry and the European Union, ESA drives the integration of satellite technologies into communications networks to accelerate the rollout, reach and impact of 5G, while guiding and supporting its industrial partners in the development of new satellite technologies as well as applications and solutions that utilise 6G connectivity.
ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) in Harwell, United Kingdom, is home to the 5G/6G Hub which offers a gateway for commercialisation of space-enabled business ideas and multi-domain collaboration. It offers industry the opportunity to take advantage of the immense potential of converged satellite and terrestrial telecommunication networks to benefit society and the environment. Supported by the UK Space Agency, the Hub forms part of ESA’s goal to extend its technology to connect other research facilities, fostering innovation in ESA’s Member States and worldwide.