[Via Satellite 07-01-2016] The European Space Agency (ESA) recently launched an Invitation to Tender (ITT) through its Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program to encourage prototyping of low data rate satellite communications concepts that would be suitable for diverse Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
With this new funding opportunity, ESA is targeting a sector that does not normally work on satellite communications, namely maker communities throughout Europe that focus on, among other things, consumer-oriented terrestrial communications projects. These groups have generated numerous hardware products and concepts based on small embedded systems (such as Raspberry PI, Arduino), software defined radio (like HackRF, GNU Radio, URSP, LimeSDR), and open source Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) programming boards.
A number of such products or concepts are already used within various ARTES projects and some have even been placed into orbit. ESA is seeking ways to cultivate ideas that use the multicast capability of satellite to reach devices outside the range of terrestrial telecommunications.
"This is a very innovative community, but one not yet active in the satcoms market," said ESA's Frank Zeppenfeldt, who was instrumental in launching the new ITT. "We would like to engage with it and help it develop innovative satcoms solutions. Through this tender, we'd like to see a kind of makerspace for satcoms community emerge."
The ITT closes on 5 September 2016.