ESA title

Space in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy

  • Activity Demonstration Project
  • Opening date 31-03-2020
  • Closing date 20-04-2020


On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the number of recorded cases was more than 118,000 in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.  Moreover, the alarming levels of spread and severity has led WHO to characterise the COVID-19 as a pandemic outbreak.

ESA will launch on 31st March 2020 an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) inviting companies to submit their ideas for deploying and demonstrating services to respond to the emergency that Europe, and especially Italy, is facing because of the spread of the coronavirus. The AO is issued in cooperation with the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization (MID).

ESA and the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitalization (MID) signed at the end of 2019 a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate with the objective of pursuing space based activities to deliver innovation and digitalization for citizens and communities. Since the outbreak of the virus and its tremendous impact on the life of citizens, ESA and MID have decided to focus their joint effort on supporting citizens in the current emergency. 

Companies responding to the AO are invited to propose Demonstration Projects dedicated to the deployment and demonstration of pre-operational services, addressing Healthcare or Education.

The main objectives of this AO are: 

  • Help citizens and health or educational professionals living in Italy to deal with the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak;
  • Support the development and the adoption of services in healthcare and education to sustain the Italian community in reacting to the coronavirus outbreak;
  • Demonstrate the benefit provided by the utilization of  space-assets integrated with other innovative technologies in these extraordinary circumstances;
  • Offer the opportunity to economic operators to deploy and demonstrate application solutions based on space for the benefit of citizens, local authorities and enterprises.

The proposed services shall be deployed in Italy, and can additionally be demonstrated in other geographies and countries, to the benefit of communities which are facing similar exceptional challenges. 


Tenderers are invited to propose Demonstration Projects addressing the topics of Healthcare or Education.

Possible application areas have been coordinated with stakeholders, such as the Italian Ministry of Education, and discussed with the Italian Space Agency, which has relevant competence and expertise acquired thanks to specific national initiatives.

Examples of (but not limited to) application areas for the theme Healthcare:

  • Remote diagnosis, initial treatment and follow-up of patients 
  • (Real-time) support or training to medical personnel using videoconferencing or telepresence systems
  • Medical resources planning
  • Follow-up of patients affected by other illnesses
  • Sanitation of infected areas
  • Remote social care for children and families in need which cannot be physically reached by social support operators
  • Guarantee mental health and well-being of home confined people.

Example of (but not limited to) application areas for the theme Education:

  • E-learning
  • Remote provision of training and education for teachers and students
  • Social “Virtual” Interaction to engage pupils
  • E-Training and e-conference for entrepreneurs


Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can:

  • Enable applications in the VR/AR environment
  • Validate the access to training/learning content based on the location of the pupils and on the time when the access is done
  • Support epidemiological analysis and cross-certification

Satellite Communications (SatCom) can:

  • Provide connectivity where terrestrial communications are insufficient
  • Enable remote monitoring through transmission of sensor data
  • Be a backup for terrestrial systems

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) can:

  • Provide contextual situational awareness for epidemiological mapping
  • Provide collection of data for production of images and maps, e.g. to provide relevant parameters into the VR/AR environment used for specific courses (e.g. geographical maps, historical sites)

It is mandatory to develop solutions based on at least one space asset. If relevant, other technologies such as Augmented/Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, can be integrated in the end-to-end solution.

Such solutions need to be GDPR compliant.


ESA will bear up to 50% of the acceptable cost (up to a max. estimated price of 1,000,000 Euro). The remainder has to be financed by the Tenderer through private sector direct and/or indirect co-funding and/or by the users based on terms and conditions to be agreed upon.

To the extent that activities are performed by Universities, Research Institutes and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, said activities are funded up to 80 % by the Agency, depending on the funding level authorised by the related National Delegation(s). 


Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas that involve utilisation of either space technology or space data. 

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

Economic Operators (both Prime and Subcontractor), intending to respond to this AO are requested to inform their National Delegation(s) of their intention to submit a proposal as soon as possible, prior to the submission of the Outline Proposal.

The following National Delegations have pre-authorised this AO: Ireland and Italy.


The tendering process follows a two steps approach: 

The first step requires the submission of an Outline Proposal. Outline Proposals shall be submitted to ESA ( and to the relevant National Delegation(s) at the latest on 20 April 2020, 13h00 CET.

Registration as Bidder

The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from EMITS (which will be available as soon as the ITT is open) and submitting their Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.