ESA title

Space4Sport Kick-Start

  • Activity Kick-start Activity
  • Opening date 21-05-2019
  • Closing date 01-07-2019


Whether for active participation as a leisure sportsperson, or passively following as a spectator of sporting events, for many people sport is their favourite leisure activity. At the same time, the public’s interest in sport and their consumer behaviour receives massive stimulation from professional top-level sport. The latter in turn can only develop from the provision of a diverse and high-quality range of services and infrastructures for sport at the mass participation level. Accordingly, sport has become a growing factor in Europe’s economy and society.

Over recent years, sport as an industry has been particularly receptive to new developments in technology and analytics. Wearable technologies have diversified, both at a professional sports science level and in the consumer fitness market. Teams and sporting bodies have worked to make their stadiums more connected, with all major new stadiums now being built with this in mind. Virtual Reality has come a long way in terms of real world applications, with a number of training programs that utilise the technology to put athletes in situations that are otherwise unachievable in an ordinary session. Major broadcasters have continued their battle against illegal streaming services; and analytics teams have continued to embed what they do into every area of their organisations.

Space assets and satellite technologies can offer added value to the sports business and can increase its capabilities in a number of ways.


Sports Tourism and Fan Engagement. In the ‘participant sports’ segment, services related to information on local effects for specific sports might be of interest for planning, preparation and execution of sports activities. In the ‘spectator sports’ segment, travelling to sports events represents the largest sub-segment. This includes transportation, accommodation, meal provisioning and attendance at sports colleges. In addition, sports organizations often struggle to collect valuable data on fan behaviour, which may lead to a less personalised fan experience and loss of fans.

Sports Facilities. Sports facilities are needed or desired for producing sport. Building such facilities such as a new sports stadium, a golf course, a lake resort for water sport, a ski area, or hiking paths, requires input in the form of information and services for the planning, design and construction of the facilities. Once built, such facilities need to be maintained, modernised and renovated.

Sports Equipment and Vehicles. In many sports, equipment and vehicles are needed to carry out the sport, such as shoes, rackets, skis, surfboards, bicycles, motor bikes, cars, canoes, boats and airplanes. Producing better equipment to achieve better results is an endless competition between equipment manufacturers, requiring successful integration of technological innovations and input data for analysis, improvement and maintenance of equipment.

Athlete Endorsement. In the professional sports segment, one continuing challenge for sports agencies is the increased role that data analysis plays in evaluating athlete performance. Non-traditional statistics are being developed in an attempt to draw a correlation between specific aspects of athlete performance and winning. Ownership of and access to the underlying information and the ability to analyse it properly is vital when athlete transfers take place and will likely be the subject of future collective bargaining agreements.

Sports Coaching. While the essence of sports lies in the talent of the athletes, their performance can be greatly improved by making use of modern technologies, ensuring a superior game and positive results. Everyone from amateurs to Olympians are beginning to understand the enormous potential of improving performance with the help of tech-driven feedback tools.

Sports Medicine. Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. The assistance of sports medicine is also recommended either when starting completely new with a sport, or  following rehabilitation after sustained injuries, in order not to overload the body. Data collection, transmission and analysis will allow the medical personnel to provide tailored advice regarding the sport program to be followed.

Animals and their Upkeep. Similar to human athletes, in a number of sports animals such as dogs (e.g. dog sleighing, dog races, dog competitions), horses (e.g. cross country, dressage, jumping, western horse riding), or pigeons (e.g. pigeon breeding, carrier pigeon races) are involved; and they deserve as much care as their human partners. Many of the topics of relevance addressed above can also be applied to animals involved in sport.


  • 07/05/2019(11:00 CEST)
  • 14/05/2019 (11:00 CEST)


New technologies like sensor miniaturisation, augmented reality and Big Data machine learning, in combination with input data collection from satellites and integration of space technologies, promise to add value across the various domains related to sport.

Earth Observation (EO) 

EO allows the collection of information on geographical (e.g. elevation, route conditions, sea state) and environmental (e.g. weather, air quality, temperature) parameters that are relevant for sport activities and the performance of athletes, as well as for planning, operations and condition based maintenance of sport facilities and equipment.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

GNSS can provide additional input information for data collection on sport activities, in combination with wearables or integrated sensors. These systems allow tracking the activity level of individuals, equipment and vehicles, as well as supporting the geo-localisation of and routing to events and facilities.

Satellite Communications (Satcom)

Satcom enables the provision of connectivity, e.g. enabling live transmission of sport events and communication within or to remote and sparsely inhabited places.

Human Spaceflight  

Human spaceflight led to the development of space telemedicine capabilities. Applicable elements include technologies, health sensors, procedures and best practices developed for astronauts.

Data Processing Software  

Automatic anomaly detection and investigation tools like ‘DrMUST’ and ‘Novelty Detection’, developed by ESA for remote monitoring and operations of space infrastructure, can be used for analysis of large amounts of data collected with sensors. Algorithms and tools like ‘Fractal Resampling’ and ‘POCKET Compression’ have been developed to help separate information from data and to compress large amounts of data, efficiently enabling the transmitting and storing of data for further analysis.


Kick-start Activities elaborate 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 "Sport", which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled sport applications and services.   


  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’)
  2. Download the official tender documentation (Invitation to Tender) and create a ‘Bidder Restricted Area’ via EMITS Reference AO-9893 from May 21st 2019. 
  3. Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
  4. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the 1st July 2019 13:00hr CEST.


Currently, Norway and the United Kingdom have pre-approved funding for this Kick-start activity. Applications from any other Member State will require a letter of approval from their National Delegation.