5G-HINTS 5G Hub over-the-air technology validations

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In order to achieve the project goal, the activities are based on four pillars:

  • Identification and consolidation of highly attractive Demonstration Topics able to consolidate the Technology Validation of 5G over the space;    
  • Demonstration Proposal Process (Solicitation, Selection and Implementation of related CCNs for the deployment of such Demonstrations);
  • Engineering Support during the Demonstration selection and execution;
  • Dissemination of the results through the appropriate media presence (website/ social media) in order to give evidence of the obtained results through the selected 5G NTN Technology. 

The entire process creates a very agile framework for soliciting, supporting and disseminating the results of a series of demonstrations, which run iteratively during the course of the project.


The main challenge of the project is to propose a series of attractive satellite technology innovation topics for the demonstrations which are supported by an adequate level of maturity in order to obtain a realistic step forward in the adoption of the satellite technology in the 5G area. For this reason, the Partnership, during the entire duration of the project, will continuously monitor what are the main technical limitations and the advances realized by industries to overcome such limitations (for instance the progress in the antenna design area to close the link budget for direct access from relatively small devices like cars).


This activity represents a common hub in which ESA, non-ESA R&D projects and industrial projects, related to satellite 5G and New Radio developments can extend their technological developments by performing on-air demonstrations. The project represents a coordination hub for technological validation activities for 5G-NTN, consequently the activities give higher visibility to this thematic, with the goal of arousing the interest of key stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, e.g. terrestrial parties and future verticals.

The visibility is guaranteed by an adequate dissemination plan that exploits social and web platforms for both the dissemination of the calls and the obtained results.


The project features include:

  • Exploitation of experiences and knowledge of the Consortium derived from other ESA projects
  • Management and Quality Assurance
  • Scouting of ESA and non-ESA projects and technical developments to be included in the demonstrations
  • Inventory of possible demonstration topics
  • Investigation of a possible common infrastructure, including ESA facilities
  • Establishment of an essential shared infrastructure
  • System integration support for the demonstration proposals and the essential shared infrastructure
  • Procurement of small items to integrate the essential shared infrastructure
  • Integration of the CCNs needed for the demonstration proposals
  • Developing of a specific website for the call proposals advertising and submission.
  • Dissemination activities through the website and social media
System Architecture

A preliminary System Architecture is depicted in the following picture.

System architecture

Based on this architecture, a preliminary essential shared infrastructure consist of:

  • Two gNBs to be implemented by OAI on laptop and connected to the SDRs;
  • One 5G Small Cell, implemented with an omnidirectional antenna working in a portion of the operative bandwidth of one of the SDRs described in the previous point, to which is connected;
  • At least one instance of 5GCore (possibly running on the same laptop of gNB);
  • Network Endpoints/Applications (possibly running on the same laptop used for 5GCore).

A schematic representation of the common infrastructure is represented in the following picture:

System architecture



The planning of the activities is reported in the Gantt Chart hereafter reported:

project plan

During the project, are foreseen 4 Financial Milestones (green triangles) and 3 Technical Milestones (red triangles).

Financial Milestones:

  • MS1: at the completion of WP1
  • MS2.1: at the completion of Task 2.1 and Task 2.2
  • MS2.3: WP2, WP3, WP4 progress
  • MS3: Final Review

Technical Milestones:

  • MS2.2: WP2, WP3, WP4 progress
  • MS2.4: WP2, WP3, WP4 progress
  • MS2.5: WP2, WP3, WP4 progress
Current status

The activities have just started on November 2021.

Prime Contractor