ESA title

OPS-SAT Space Lab Flight Opportunity for Space Cybersecurity Services

  • Activity Feasibility Study
  • Opening date 01-03-2023
  • Closing date 12-04-2023


Space-based systems are increasingly critical to many industries. Cyberattacks may have serious or even catastrophic effects, from compromising data to blackouts. It is therefore crucial to develop effective cybersecurity solutions for space-based systems to ensure the resilience of the global economy.

ESA Telecommunications (D/TIA) has partnered with ESA Operations (D/OPS) to provide industry with an exciting flight opportunity to demonstrate, validate and showcase cybersecurity-related products and services onboard the OPS-SAT Space Lab platform.

Relevant Topics

This activity will be a Proof of Concept study taking advantage of the flight opportunity offered to study topics including, but not limited to:

  • Vulnerability Testing
  • Firewall and Malware Blocking
  • Space-Based Threat Detection
  • Secure Communication Systems
  • Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
  • Authentication and Access Control
  • Encryption

Expected Impact and Benefits

This opportunity gives industry the chance to test, validate and showcase space cybersecurity products for commercial purposes in a live space environment. These can then be used to improve TRL levels for products/services and accelerate their commercial uptake.
These products/services offer many benefits to the commercial sector including:

  • Improved cybersecurity
  • Increased resilience
  • Expanded capabilities


Proof of concepts studies will be supported under this call. They should start in late Q2/early Q3 and typically run for a period of between 3 to 6 months.
The D/OPS led OPS-SAT Space Lab will allow industry to load their own software or firmware to the OPS-SAT-1 spacecraft and execute it either in real-time or offline. The Lab includes a fully representative FlatSat available to test demonstrations on the ground before moving into space. Both the FlatSat and spacecraft are accessible remotely over the internet using D/OPS SMILE infrastructure.

All proposals will need to be compliant with the present system constraints on the satellite. An 800MHz Dual Core ARM Cortex-A9 + Cyclone V FPGA (stringent checks will apply to changes of the FPGA) is available, and all software will have 200 MB of RAM for file storage and running of the application. The system is running embedded Linux (built on Angstrom + Yocto 2.4.4 platform). Connectivity options range from raw CCSDS Space Packet interfaces to TCP/IP and SSH. The spacecraft can be accessed in real-time four times per day, each time for around 5 minutes. Uplinks should therefore be limited to 10 Mbytes.

During this period, the OPS-SAT Space Lab will give teams access to low level technical information and advice, assistance during the testing phase and the operational execution service (planning, execution, provision of results).

Teams may have the opportunity to demonstrate their projects at the Software Defined Space Conference, which will be held 1-2 November 2023 in Tallinn, Estonia.


ESA is providing a unique opportunity to allow industry to perform in-orbit testing of their cybersecurity product/service. Should there be enough interest from industry, ESA may consider releasing similar flight opportunities in the future.

OPS-SAT Space Lab is a platform managed by ESA to provide fast and cost-free access to in-flight experimentation


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 typically bear up to 50% of the eligible total activity costs, but this funding level can be increased up to 80% for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, or research institutions. The precise funding amount should be discussed with your relevant National Delegation.  

For this call, the total amount awarded to each project is 50K Euro, which will cover the development of a proof of concept.


Teams from companies or organisations registered in the following Member States are eligible to apply for this opportunity: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania.

Please contact your National Delegation to inform them of your intention to apply for this opportunity. Contact details can be found here.  


  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 the What we Offer section above). Submit your proposal via esa-star tendering by the stated deadline.