EU seeks satellite system ideas
August 2, 2022
By Chris Forrester
The European Commission (EC) has written to EU member states and the industry in general inviting them to submit their assessments as to how the EC’s future proposed satellite system can be implemented and – importantly – be financed. The probability is that either a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) scheme could emerge.
The EC has issued its Preliminary Market Consultation 50-page document, explaining that “the legislative process is ongoing. The purpose of the consultation is strictly limited to the preparation of possible future procurement(s) based on the available actual information; any action will only be possible upon adoption of the Regulation that will constitute the basic act and legal basis for any procurements, taking therefore into consideration possible changes on elements contained in the final adopted text.”
The document says: “In today’s digital world, space-based connectivity is a strategic asset for EU’s resilience. It enables our economic power, digital leadership and technological sovereignty, competitiveness and societal progress. Secure connectivity has become a public good for European governments and citizens.”
“Both governmental user needs and satellite communication solutions are changing rapidly. The EU space-based secure communication system seeks to meet these increased and evolving needs, and will also include the latest quantum communication technologies for secure encryption. It will be based on the development of innovative and disruptive technologies, and on the leveraging of the New Space ecosystem,” says the EC.
“The total cost is estimated at €6 billion. The proposed Union’s contribution to the Programme from 2023 until 2027 is €2.4 billion at current prices. The funding will come from different sources of the public sector (e.g. EU budget, Member States, European Space Agency’s (ESA) contributions) and private sector investments.,” says the Consultation document.
The EC suggests that 60-78 satellites would be needed in the LEO narrowband option, or 100+ for a broadband option. Alternatively, 24 satellites would be needed for a MEO solution.
Closing date for the receipt of ideas is September 9th.