Opportunity: Next Generation SATCOM European Infrastructure system study




Our society and economy are increasingly dependent on secure telecommunications networks. These networks are required for the secure operation of critical infrastructures, governmental services or in transport. They may constitute a systemic point of failure with major safety and security threats, in particular during disruptions caused by natural or human-made disasters or by cyber attacks. Satellite communications can provide a secure space component as a self-standing element or in complement to the terrestrial telecommunications system. Terrestrial networks may benefit from satellite communication infrastructure to reduce vulnerability and increase the overall resilience.

The European Space Agency has initiated a new ARTES Strategic Programme Line dedicated to “Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S)” (https://artes.esa.int/4s-space-systems-safety-and-security). It is aimed at supporting the development of safe and secure satellite communication systems to improve digital European telecommunication infrastructure resilience. Additionally, the 4S programme aims to support the development of security and safety applications and their adoption in the coming decade by relevant user communities and institutional/public governing bodies.

In this first ARTES 4S ESA-initiated study the main objective is to ask industry to propose a comprehensive technical and programmatic vision of what the next generation Secure SatCom European infrastructure able to support the needs key 4S User Communities by the 2025 and 2030 time frame shall look like, and how to best finance and deploy it in an effective and timely manner.


The technical and programmatic proposal to be elaborated by the contractor in the frame of the study shall be able to support the needs the following “4S” institutional and/or public-regulated user segments:

- Transport: with traffic management tending towards automation thanks to digitized communications and the prospect of remote controlled aircraft/drones, ships and land vehicles (trains, trucks, cars - including transport of dangerous goods), Aviation, Maritime and Land are key segments to be addressed.

- Digital Infrastructure serving critical assets and applications: There is a greater need for performance, ubiquitous, secure and resilient telecommunication networks supporting critical infrastructures/applications such as for instance energy generation and distribution, finance, industrial sites monitoring and control, health organizations, administrations, shall be investigated. Impact of ubiquitous coverage for these applications and citizens needs at large shall be investigated here too. 

- Institutional users’ needs: Institutional users’ needs such as those of Governmental and EU Institutional Services and their continuity in case of a crisis (e.g, decision bodies, administrations, embassies, border control), civil protection (first responders/public safety), are also an important target of this future 4S SATCOM infrastructure.

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Support from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.


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 the case that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.


The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from EMITS (which will be available as soon as the ITT is open, in April 2020) and submitting their Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.

Published 23 March 2020
Last updated at 23 March 2020 - 16:52