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    18 Apr 2014 
ARTES Elements
Tenders and Workplans


The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a short range coastal tracking system currently used on ships. It was developed to provide identification and position information to vessel and shore stations. Space-based, or SAT-AIS will provide AIS data via satellite, allowing for the detection of seafaring vessels equipped with AIS tracking devices.

A European-based SAT-AIS is an initiative in partnership with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and ESA. The ARTES 21 SAT-AIS element defines the design/investigation of a sustainable space-based system that will provide AIS data.

Currently, the SafeSeaNet (SSN) operated by EMSA ensures the effective tracking of vessels and hazardous cargoes based on the data received by coastal stations. From the coastal stations, the AIS messages are transferred via national stations to three regional AIS servers that provide the data to the EMSA SafeSeaNet server.

This SAT-AIS initiative shall add another server to this system that will deliver AIS data received via satellite to the SafeSeaNet server. This will be the satellite AIS server, or the "space node". The provision of SAT-AIS data would bring additional added value to existing maritime information services. SAT-AIS information will support European entities and institutions in law enforcement, fisheries control campaigns, maritime border control operations, maritime safety and security issues including marine pollution response, search and rescue and anti-piracy.

ESA’s SAT-AIS is implemented through three ARTES programme elements:

  • ARTES 5 – technology activities currently underway including antenna miniaturisation, receiver developments and performance testbed
  • ARTES 20 – implementation and validation of the Data Processing Centre as “space node” in close cooperation with and co-funding from EMSA for full data integration into SafeSeaNet services.
  • ARTES 21 – covers the initial steps of the system design and implementation, also including the investigation of opportunities via a cost benefit analysis of an Operational Demonstration Mission (ODEM), system design phase B1 studies, comparative performance assessments, as well the exploration of possible Public Private Partnership (PPP) implementation scheme for the European SAT-AIS operational system. The ODEM shall demonstrate the SAT-AIS capabilities in a user-driven operational environment and will allow for early provision of services based on a dedicated geographical use-case area.

Consolidation of requirements have been performed through consultation with users in two workshops hosted jointly by ESA and EMSA. The workshops updated and informed attendees on the status and planned activities for SAT-AIS. Feedback from users and stakeholders at these workshops has been instrumental in further development of this programme.

Member States participating in ARTES 21 SAT-AIS include: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada. 

If your company or organisation is located in the participating member states and is interested in bidding on an ITT, or if your country is not listed here, you are encouraged to contact your ESA delegate. For more information please contact Carsten Tobehn.


Last Update: 23 Sep 2013
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