ESA title

Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions

  • Activity Kick-start Activity
  • Opening date 12-10-2017
  • Closing date 23-11-2017

The current global economic demand for resources and the shrinkage of the ice coverage measured recently is starting to bring international attention to the Arctic. The Arctic is considered to host vast natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, fresh water, fish and forest resources.

The Arctic region is an area where, given the harsh environment and isolation status, space assets are among the important tools that support, and will support more, the development of the activities in the area, and in particular the sustainability and security and safety of those activities.

Solutions capable to support a safe sustainable development of the arctic regions and to overcome challenges operator are facing presently are needed. Service providers could pave the way to the arctic “Blue growth”; through the provision of applications  such as ocean energy, aquaculture ; as well of services capable to support emergency response operations, ice monitoring, environmental resources protection.


Kick-start Activities elaborate the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation or Human Space Flight Technology).

This Call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme "Arctic and Sub-Arctic regions", which means that is open to ideas for services addressing local authorities, oil & gas operators, mining companies, offshore energy producers, fishing companies and food producers, timber producers, tourist operators, cruise shipping lines and other relevant stakeholders in these regions. Such services can cover topics as:

  • Supporting safe and sustainable economic development
  • Preparing for future arctic shipping
  • Monitoring and protecting environmental resources

Exploitation of space-based data and technology is key for the proposed Kick-start Activity theme, with the following considerations:

Satellites can contribute to weather and sea-ice conditions monitoring, supporting safety of navigation and enabling the huge task of Search and Rescue born by maritime authorities responsible for the Arctic region.

Satellite based Automated Identification (SAT-AIS) System or VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) could support the establishment of or extend already existing location-based communication systems such as AIS or Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) allowing transmission of among others positional information.

The data gathered from Earth Observation, Navigation and SAT-AIS/VDES payloads can eventually be integrated with other means, such as data provided by Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems or High Altitude Platforms. In addition to the maritime transport sector, RPAs can also be effectively used for applications in support of the energy sector, such as wind farm surveying, geological and mineral surveying, but also for other uses e.g. in the meteorological domain.

In order to support the safety of air navigation (including RPAs), the contribution of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is essential.

Data derived from satellites and aerial means can also be used for monitoring and change detection purposes, as well as for smarter precision management of bio resources. The data can be used to deliver services to institutional stakeholders (e.g. monitoring permafrost changes and damages from severe weather events) but also private ones e.g. in the forestry sector contributing to sustainable utilization of forest resources or in the energy sector monitoring snow-cover levels for the hydropower industry.


The webinars for this tender were scheduled for:

6 October 2017, 12:00 - 13:00 CEST
Registered users can now download the webinar presentation from 6 October below. Not registered on our website yet? Register here.

12 October 2017, 12:30 - 13:30 CEST

Authorisation of funding

For the Thematic Call on "Arctic and Sub-Arctic" Kick-start Activities, the following ESA Member State have already made funding available:
Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and the United Kingdom.

In case you intend to submit a proposal for a Thematic Call and your company/organisation resides in another country, you are encouraged to contact the National Delegation.