User Segment Overview
The User Segment programme line promotes near-to-market activities in the area of satellite communications that have a direct impact on the user community. User Terminals and Applications are the two main lines of development.
In the past, ESA has focused on the development of elements on board the satellite. However, the success of a satellite communications venture relies on the appropriate combination of all system elements, in particular those that are directly exposed to use by end users.
The availability of suitable products able to respond to user needs, such as applications and user terminals, is crucial to developing the satellite communications market.
Many of the companies and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) approaching the User Segment programme with innovative ideas are new to the satellite communications sector and to working with ESA. The User Support Office (USO) has been specifically set up to help.
The objective of the User Segment programme line is to promote and host innovative activities. Particular emphasis is on those pre-competitive activities that address developments in the field of satellite communication based applications and user terminals.
Innovative design and industrialisation aspects are of fundamental importance in the ground segment terminals where the drivers are often mass production and low cost. In developing markets where mass production has not yet started, innovative techniques are key for achieving economies of scale for relatively limited initial productions.
Together with the development of user terminal products and systems, this part of the ESA Telecom programme aims to stimulate and support the development and consolidation of innovative uses of satellite communications. After all, satellite communication uptake will only come if the user community can have access to attractive and economically viable applications.
The development of innovative applications making use of satellite communications is pursued though a number of contractual actions (Applications projects). The following are some of the current applications:
User Terminals: Development support is being increased for advanced low-cost ground terminals for both the professional and consumer markets. Indoor and outdoor units for both fixed and mobile systems are being treated here.
A User Support Office (USO) has been set up to respond to the needs of SMEs and newcomers to ESA. The Office provides a wide range to services spanning from remote training to expert advice, project support and market development support.
Last Update: 20 Jun 2008