Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S) Applications


Our society, economy, security and sovereignty are increasingly dependent on digital infrastructures and more specifically on communication networks: any lack of coverage in some areas or loss of availability due to accidental or intentional disruption may have widespread impact and very negative consequences. 

Hence, specific governmental attention is required to those communication services and networks that are essential for institutional services (at national, regional or local levels) and support operations that are deemed critical in fields as various as transport, finance, health, energy production and distribution, public safety, etc. Governmental actions include setting pro-active public policies, imposing strict regulations on these services and the infrastructure that supports them and to carefully check their application through various mechanisms such as service certification or operational oversight by dedicated governmental bodies (agencies, …).

These institutional and public-regulated needs are addressed by the new ESA ARTES 4.0 Space System for Safety and Security (4S) Strategic Programme Line. Within 4S, ESA wants to support and promote in particular the development of innovative downstream services enabled by space technologies addressing these needs, both today and tomorrow based on next generation SATCOM infrastructure that may be deployed over the next decade. Primarily focus is on secure Satellite communications, but combination and integration with other space assets such as Satellite Navigation and Satellite Earth Observation are also targeted.


Tenderers are invited to propose Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects dedicated to assess, develop and demonstrate space-based solutions and business models for innovative, economically sustainable downstream services addressing global security and safety needs.

Feasibility Studies provide the preparatory framework to assess and define new potentially sustainable applications and services.

Demonstration Projects are dedicated to the implementation and pilot of pre-operational demonstration services with the involvement and contribution of users.

Areas of applications include (but not limited to):

  • Transport (maritime, aviation, rail, road – manned & unmanned)
  • Essential Services and Critical infrastructures (utilities, finance, health system, logistics)
  • Public Safety (emergency services, fire brigade, law enforcement, civil protection)


Satellite Communications (SatCom):

  • Securely connect remote places w/o terrestrial communications
  • Operate as back-up of terrestrial communications systems
  • Enable M2M in remote areas

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO):

  • Provides imagery enabling mapping, ground assets monitoring, situational awareness, etc.
  • Allows monitoring of environmental impacts of critical infrastructures and detect risks (e.g. natural hazards, subsidence)

Satellite Navigation (SatNav):

  • Provides accurate Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT)
  • Allows track and trace of vehicles, people and assets
  • Allows navigation of autonomous vehicles

Although the emphasis is on the use of secure satellite telecommunications, use of other space based technologies (such as Satellite Earth Observation data, Satellite Navigation), and integration with other non-space technologies (such as IoT, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – AI, etc.) is encouraged.


We offer funding and support to companies, both for business case assessment and for the development of new, space-based 4S services. Our offer includes:

  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network and partners
  • Use of the ESA brand for your service
  • Zero-equity funding

ESA will bear up to 50% of the eligible total project costs. The remainder has to be financed by the Tenderer through private sector directly and/or indirectly via co-funding and/or by the users based on terms and conditions to be agreed upon.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises activities can be funded up to 80% by the Agency, depending on the funding level authorised by the related National Delegation(s).

For activities related to technology/product development, different funding levels may apply.


We look for teams that have identified an attractive market opportunity with real potential to engage customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your innovative ideas that involve utilisation of either space technology or space data for sustainable services addressing institutional and public-regulated safety and security needs.

For 4S activities, companies registered in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

The applicable funding level of the individual prime - or subcontractors is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation(s). Therefore, bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.


Tenderers are invited to propose 4S Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects via the Call for Proposals for Downstream Applications in ARTES 4.0 (AO 10494).

For information on how to apply, please visit this page.


• A webinar took place on 30 November 2020, please see the slides here.