The European Commission has selected a consortium consisting of manufacturing companies, satellite operators and service providers, telecommunications companies and European launch service providers to study the design, development and launch of a European space communications system.
The study will assess the feasibility of a new initiative aimed at strengthening European digital sovereignty and providing secure connectivity for citizens, businesses and public institutions, as well as ensuring global coverage for rural and currently unserved areas. Complementary to Copernicus and Galileo, this new flagship program of the European Union, once the green light is given, will be able to fully exploit the technological potential provided by the digital and space industries. The value of the contract on the feasibility study, lasting one year, is 7,1 million euros.
The European Space Connectivity System, supported by Commissioner Breton, is designed to provide secure communications services to the Union and its Member States, as well as providing broadband connectivity for European citizens, businesses and mobility sectors, strengthening thus the digital autonomy of the EU. The new system will be based on the European Union's GOVSATCOM program, designed for the pooling and sharing of satellite services, and will ensure a level of reliability, resilience and security currently unavailable on the market. The project will also leverage the EuroQCI initiative, which promotes the research and use of innovative quantum cryptography technology.
More in detail, the study phase assigned by the European Commission will consolidate the user and mission requirements, as well as provide the preliminary design of the architecture and service provision and the related cost estimates. During this phase a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme will be considered and evaluated.
The study will examine how the space system can improve and connect current and future critical infrastructures, including terrestrial networks, strengthening the Union's ability to access the cloud and provide digital services independently and securely, which is essential for building trust in digital economy and ensure Europe's strategic autonomy and resilience. The project will also leverage and strengthen the role of satellites in the 5G ecosystem, evaluating their interoperability and creating the conditions for the evolution towards the next 6G technologies.
The new European-owned infrastructure will be designed to benefit a wide range of sectors, including road and sea transport, air traffic control, self-driving mobility, as well as many Internet of Things applications ( Iot). The space infrastructure will also offer greater security in the transmission and storage of information and data to support the needs of users such as government agencies, financial and banking companies, scientific networks, critical infrastructures and data centers.