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This feasibility study targets the definition phase, with the aim to raise TRL from 2 to 3, where the following tasks are covered by the activity:

  1. Derive use cases and user requirements. 

  2. Perform a state-of-the-art analysis.

  3. Define ViSAGE Service Concept and high-level architecture.

  4. Define ViSAGE PoC (Proof of Concept) detailed architecture.

  5. Develop ViSAGE PoC. 

  6. Assess the viability and develop a roadmap.


Most missions communicate with the ground only when flying over their fixed, mission-dedicated ground station(s)

Ground segment CAPEX remains an issue for many missions, especially in NewSpace, accompanied by to the long delivery time, limited configuration and maintenance, and overall complexity.

Therefore, the operators are looking for solutions supporting the ad-hoc deployment of ground stations at different locations and times, through virtualized equipment (in the cloud) closer to the antenna. 

Traditionally, this is a hardware world, so the main challenge is the migration of the DSP and FEP algorithms from the very efficient FPGA (hardware) into the GPU/CPU (software) domain.


The values that ViSAGE brings are: 

  • No CAPEX – with software virtualization, the expense comes down to OPEX. 

  • Ad-hoc – the station can be dynamically deployed/undeployed on different cloud facilities/locations. 

  • Optimization – based on mission requirements, cloud resources can be optimized (as well as OPEX). 

  • Pay-as-you-go model - pay per minute, for the time you use the antenna/cloud. 

  • Reusability – reuse the same modem for different missions - quick software reconfiguration. 

  • Certification – use the same software modem while simulating and planning the mission, then certify it during the mission integration and testing phase (AIV), and finally use the certified modem in operations. 

  • Time – fast deployment, configuration, and maintenance


ViSAGE provides the entire mission communication through two parts:

  1. ViSAGE Portal – a one-stop-shop for Mission Operators.

  2. ViSAGE Station – communication functions software package deployed in the GSaaS/Cloud.


ViSAGE Concept

ViSAGE is intended for all phases of Mission Communications:

  • Definition Phase (DEF) – Mission Engineers can run ViSAGE Station in a completely simulated and virtualized environment, and perform a complete simulation of the communication channel (incl. orbit parameters, RF frequencies, MODCODs, protocols, etc.). The output is a simulation-certified ViSAGE Station.

  • Realization Phase (REL) – After the DEF phase, the satellite's Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) are performed in the lab. The certified VISAGE Station obtained in the DEF phase is used to test and debug the communication modules of the spacecraft (both payload and TT&C). ViSAGE Station features a very detailed and intuitive reporting module used for debugging. The output is a laboratory-certified ViSAGE Station.

  • Operational Phase (OPS) – Once the spacecraft has been launched and is operational, the ViSAGE Station can be deployed to various GSaaS / clouds around the world in a dynamic, ad-hoc and optimal way. During this phase, customers are responsible for applying and maintaining the necessary regulatory licenses for transmission and reception.

System Architecture

To realize ViSAGE, several components and interfaces were initially identified as shown below: 

ViSAGE Main Components and Interfaces

where the components:

  • ViSAGE Platform – Implemented in the cloud, it allows customers to declare, configure, optimize, simulate, orchestrate, forecast, and order Sessions and components. 

  • Consumer Service – It allows customers to consume communication data as output from the Virtualization Infrastructure Asset.

  • Producer Service – It allows customers to provide communication data as input to the Virtualization Infrastructure Asset. 

  • Virtualization Infrastructure Asset – It is deployed either in the cloud or co-located in the orchestrated Node (e.g., GSaaS own processing software or own cloud). It allows the conversion of the communication data from/to producer/consumer to/from baseband data of the Physical Radio Function Asset. 

  • Physical Radio Function Asset – It is a real hardware component(s) that transmit / receive the radio signal to/from another Orchestrated Node (e.g., GSaaS) or Independent Node (e.g., satellite). 

  • Independent Radio Function Asset – It is a target/source to receive / transmit the radio signal as an output/input of the Physical Radio Function Asset.

where the external interfaces between the different components are numbered as show above.


The project duration is 17 months, structured as shown in the following Gantt chart:

In addition to the KOM, the project includes four main milestones as shown above, with progress meeting every 2-3 months.

Current status

After the KOM, the project has official started. The initial work effort is concentrated on WP1 (user needs and requirements elicitation) and WP2 (state-of-the-art analysis), with WP5 (Viability analysis) going on parallel. Project management (WP0) is carried during the entire project.

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