ESA title

Digital Platforms

  • Activity Kick-start Activity
  • Opening date 10-12-2021
  • Closing date 22-02-2022


This Kick-Start initiative explores how space technology can link with or enable online digital platforms, by introducing new features and innovative services to consumers and businesses. Conversely, it also considers the benefits that digital platforms could offer to the space ecosystem, by offering space products and services in novel way. Such digital platforms are understood as online e-commerce websites connecting buyers and sellers, facilitating transactions of products, service, and exchange of social contents, such as Amazon, Uber, or Facebook.


Three topics of relevance are considered:

  • Consumer service platforms: connecting consumers with relevant services. Examples of such services are ride-sharing, routing and navigation, financial services, delivery of goods and rental. The users may provide some form of data, which is processed by the operator into a format suitable for consumption by other users or the platform may just facilitate the connection between consumer and supplier. This could be making use of geolocation to connect or guide users in the appropriate locality.
  • Entertainment and social platforms such as for example YouTube or Facebook. This is a new and fast-growing sector with challenging business models. Online games such as PokemonGo proposing augmented reality experiences leveraging smartphone geolocation are also eligible.
  • Marketplaces and knowledge platforms: space marketplaces, knowledge-oriented and crowdfunding platforms are types of digital platforms that could benefit the space ecosystem. Space marketplaces refer to any form of platform that facilitates the trade of space-related assets between many actors, be that equipment, data (raw or processed), or space services. The distinction here between conventional space offerings being that the platform brings together many different providers and consumers therefore increasing accessibility to space innovation. These kind of platforms are expected to flourish under the new space era by offering alternative means and capabilities for start-ups and new space actors. Knowledge platforms could offer online education about any topic linked to space.


The added-value of space-based assets data is crucial for the proposed Kick-Start theme: 

  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are instrumental for applications requiring the geo-referencing of the consumer’s location (e.g.  for Uber or PokemonGO).
  • Earth Observation data allows to augment targeted service with terrain classification, environmental, weather, or other information.
  • Satellite Communications provide a means for consumers located in remote locations, where there is no terrestrial network, to access digital platforms.

Here are a few examples where space data can be instrumental in the delivery of the applications/services: 

  • Services offered by consumer location-based platform for ride-sharing, routing/navigation and home delivery.
  • Consumer services requiring high precision geo-location information such as personal security applications.
  • Services based on meteorological information and/or pollution levels derived from SatEO data and merged with other in-situ or crowd-sourced data, which may support navigation aids that take into account air quality.

The development of sub-services – or components - that could be integrated with such platforms are considered eligible provided that the study involves relevant stakeholders. Examples include providing secure, geolocalised digital payments as a complement to a platform that offers security-critical transactions.


Kick-Start activities explore the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g., Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-Start activities is dedicated to the theme ‘Digital Platforms’, which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the aforementioned themes in this domain.


  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-Star Registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’)
  2. Visit ESA-star publications and search for this opportunity to download the official tender documentation. Official documents will include proposal templates, a draft contract, and additional information about this opportunity.
  3. Use the official documents to prepare your proposal.
  4. Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
  5. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the deadline. 


ESA Space Solutions can provide funding to perform Kick-Start activities under this Digital Platforms initiative to any company (economic operator) residing in the following Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

However, please note that, currently, Austria, Greece, and Switzerland are not supporting Kick-Start activities.

Applicants must inform the National Delegation of the country they are residing in to obtain a letter of authorisation allowing the funding of the proposed activity. Contact details of each national delegate can be found here ( 

Currently, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and the United Kingdom have pre-approved funding for this kick-start activity. Applicants from these countries do not need to obtain a letter of authorisation from their National Delegation.

Kick-Start activities are funded at 75% by the European Space Agency for a maximum of €60K per contract.