ESA title

Space in Response to Humanitarian Crises

  • Activity Feasibility Study, Demonstration Project
  • Opening date 25-04-2022
  • Closing date 28-04-2023

Given ongoing protracted humanitarian crises across the World, ESA has decided to extend the deadline for this ‘Announcement of Opportunities’ for an additional 6 months. All outline proposals must be submitted before the 28th of April 2023.


According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2020, 82.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order.

ESA is currently in discussions with leading humanitarian organisations including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) to understand their needs.

Space holds remarkable potential to support responses to humanitarian crises - satellites can operate worldwide, including areas with protracted conflict or political instability, to provide synoptic data and unbiased information as well as deliver basic services to vulnerable communities. 

ESA is launching this funding opportunity to deliver operational services that support efforts in response to humanitarian crises. ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects, which use space assets or space data like remote sensing, global navigation satellite systems, satellite communication or weather satellites. 

Relevant Topics

ESA would like to see proposals that focus on any of the following key pillars: 

1.    Supporting the physical, emotional, psychological, social, or economic well-being of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). 

Potential services include:

  • access to trusted sources (e.g., humanitarian organisations) for critical advice and information (e.g., on safe corridors, conditions in place of origin, available services and legal assistance)
  • restoration of family and community links
  • access to cash and remittances
  • protection of education provision
  • preservation and/or development of livelihoods in the digital space
  • provision of up-to-date route conditions in a rapidly changing landscape

2.    Supporting organisations to forecast, respond to, and manage humanitarian crises. 

Potential services include: 

  • assessment of conditions of critical infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, roads, water supplies, telecommunications networks) in crisis regions
  • provision of secure connectivity to and for field teams
  • tracking of population movements
  • facilitating communications between responders and those in need of assistance
  • mapping of weaponised areas as a proxy for unexploded ordinance
  • dynamic routing services to facilitate access to and from affected areas

3.    Supporting communities hosting displaced people to adapt and respond to the challenges associated with migrant flows

Potential services include: 

  • assistance in refugee registration efforts
  • mapping of displaced populations
  • prediction of migrant flows
  • optimisation of local resources and services under stress
  • optimisation of imported resources and aid through digital supply chain

4.    To support post-conflict recovery efforts

Potential services include:

  • assessment of conditions of critical infrastructure and household dwellings
  • recovery of key resources that have been damaged and/or neglected (e.g. agricultural land; power grid; water sources)
  • restoration of safe areas (e.g., clearing of landmines and unexploded ordinance)
  • recovery of contaminated areas (e.g., where shelling has occurred on heavily industrialised areas)
  • restoration of environmental governance


ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects under this ‘Announcement of Opportunities’:

Feasibility Studies will allow successful teams to analyse, design and plan their intended service. Studies should last for 6 months and must include a proof of concept. 

Demonstration Projects will allow successful teams to put their intended service into practice. Teams will test their service in the market by running a pilot with significant users and, by the end of the project, the service should be operational. Projects should last for 9 months and, due to the pressing nature of this initiative, the service must be rolled out for trial by month 5 of the project.


Satellite Communications (SatCom): 

  • Enable secure connection in remote places without land-based communication channels.
  • Operate as back-up for land-based communications systems
  • Enable machine-to-machine communication in remote areas

Applicants should make it clear in their proposal if they intend to use secure satellite telecommunications. 

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO): 

  • Provides imagery enabling mapping, risk detection and situational awareness 
  • Allows remote monitoring of people, objects, and surrounding environments. 

Satellite Navigation (SatNav):

  • Provides accurate Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) 
  • Allows tracking and tracing of vehicles, people, and resources. 
  • Allows navigation of autonomous vehicles

Intended services can integrate space-based technologies with non-space technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet of things (IoT). 


We offer funding and support to companies, both for business case assessment and for the development of new, space-based services. Our offer includes:

  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network and partners
  • Use of the ESA brand for your service
  • Zero-equity funding

ESA will bear up to 50% of the eligible total project or study costs. The remainder must be financed by the Tenderer through private sector directly and/or indirectly via co-funding and/or by the users based on terms and conditions to be agreed upon.

Activities by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises or research institutions can be funded up to 80% by the Agency, depending on the funding level authorised by the related National Delegation(s).

ESA funding will come from either the ‘ESA ARTES 4.0 Space Systems for Safety and Security (4S) Strategic Programme Line’ or from ‘ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS)’. Teams are invited to clearly indicate in the outline proposal whether their proposed service is based on secure satellite communications and/or other space assets such as Satellite Navigation and Satellite Earth Observation.  


Teams from companies or organisations registered in the following Member States are eligible to apply for this opportunity: 

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


  1. Register your team on esa star Registration ( today! If your team is made up of more than one company or organisation, each member will need to register.
  2. Scroll down to the ‘Downloads’ section of this webpage to download all of the official documents. Official documents include an ‘Outline Proposal Template’ and a document explaining the scope of this opportunity.
  3. Prepare your Outline Proposal and submit it here before 28 April 2023.
  4. ESA will evaluate your Outline Proposal. Teams whose outline proposals are positively evaluated will be invited to prepare a Full Proposal. Teams must obtain a Letter of Authorisation from their respective National Delegation before submitting a Full Proposal. Contact details of all National Delegates can be found here: National Delegation(s).


A webinar is scheduled for the following date: