Proposal Guide - Direct Negotiation

Having registered on esa-star – ESA’s System for Tendering And Registration as potential bidder, login to EMITS - ESA's Electronic Mail Invitation to Tender System with your received account information and download the official tender documentation from:


  • Letter of Invitation
  • Appendix 1A - Special Tender Conditions for Feasibility Studies or
  • Appendix 1B - Special Tender Conditions for Fast Track Feasibility Studies or
  • Appendix 1C - Special Tender Conditions for Demonstration Projects
  • Appendix 2 - Draft Contract (including Management Requirements)

Please consider as well any relevant clarifications beyond these tender documents, as well as the General Conditions of Tender for ESA Contract and General Clauses and Conditions for ESA Contracts available in the reference documentation.

Outline Proposal Submission

  1. The first formal step in approaching ESA via the Open Call for Proposals is the submission of an Outline Proposal. According to the proposed activity, download the specific proposal templates from the Documents section. These templates provide guidance and structure for your Outline Proposal:
  • ESA Business Applications Feasibility Study - Outline Proposal Guide & Template
  • ESA Business Applications Demonstration Project - Outline Proposal Template

An interactive online guide, the Outline Proposal Development Tool, has been specifically designed to help the applicant to prepare Outline Proposals for ESA Business Applications Demonstration Projects. The use of this tool is highly recommended and requires you to be a registered user on the ARTES website. The online guide provides eleven modules, each addressing a specific section of the Outline Proposal. Tutorials, tools, worksheets, tips and techniques are provided inside each module in order to help creating the Outline Proposal.

  1. Obtain a Letter of Interest from all participants who are not subcontractors. These are typically users or stakeholders, who have an interest in a future operational application/service and whose active involvement in the study is required. The information that needs to be provided in this letter is described in the applicable proposal template.
  2. Submit the Outline Proposal by email to:
  3. The Outline Proposal represents the starting point for interaction between ESA and you. ESA staff review the Outline Proposal and provide feedback. In case clarifications are required, you are invited to submit a revised version.
  4. Based on ESA’s review, and when the Outline Proposal is considered acceptable, ESA informs the National Delegation(s) of the envisaged Prime and subcontractors involved in the project.
  5. If your activity is considered eligible, ESA prepares a special document for their Joint Communications Board (JCB), which meets four times per year. This document summarises the proposal, shows how it complies with the eligibility criteria for an ESA Business Applications activity and requests the Board’s approval.
  6. The submission deadline for Outline Proposals in advance of a JCB meeting is approximately eight weeks, i.e. mid-December, mid-March, mid-July and mid-September. Specific deadlines should be coordinated directly with ESA via email to:
  7. The JCB approval is required before a Full Proposal can be submitted. To get the general approval of the JCB (by simple majority) it is typically a pre-requisite that the National Delegation(s) related to the organisations involved in the activity are in favour of the activity.

Full Proposal Submission

  1. If approved by the ESA relevant committees, you will be informed and invited to submit a Full Proposal. This invitation might contain additional information that needs to be respected for the Full Proposal preparation.
  2. Prior to submitting a Full Proposal, the Prime and all subcontractors must also register as potential bidders via esa-star and obtain an entity code.  This process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.
  3. Pre-requisite for acceptance of a Full Proposal by ESA is the presence of a formal Letter of Authorisation from the National Delegation(s) of every country in which a member of the submitting team (Prime and subcontractors) is located. Such letter(s) must be coordinated with and requested from the National Delegation(s) as soon as possible, as this process takes time and can delay the proposal submission.
  4. The Full Proposal must be developed from the Outline Proposal, and must be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the tender documentation. Chapter II of
  • Appendix 1A - Special Tender Conditions for Feasibility Studies and
  • Appendix 1B – Special Tender Conditions for Fast Track Feasibility Studies
  • Appendix 1C - Special Tender Conditions for Demonstration Projects

contains the requirements regarding the content of a Full Proposal.

  1. A set of forms (PSS forms) are referenced in the tender conditions which can be downloaded as templates from the EMITS website under: Reference Documentation - Administrative Documents - PSS Forms
    Questions regarding the content of a Full Proposal can be addressed to ESA as well.
  2. The Full Proposal must be submitted to the Head of the Telecoms Contracts Service, according to what is indicated in the Letter of Invitation.
  3. The proposal is formally evaluated by a Tender Evaluation Board (TEB).  Please note that such evaluation meetings are pre-scheduled. At the evaluation meetings all proposals submitted before a certain date and accepted for evaluation will be reviewed.  The deadlines for submitting Full Proposals are indicated on EMITS within the clarifications to the Open Call for Proposals(AO/1-6124/09/NL/US).
  4. If considered acceptable, ESA will invite the bidder(s) to a Negotiation Meeting identifying in advance the elements subject to negotiation. If the proposal is not initially acceptable, then clarification questions and suggestions for improvement will be addressed to the bidder(s).
  5. In the Negotiation Meeting the negotiation points will be discussed. The Negotiation Meeting is considered successful only if all negotiation points are closed satisfactorily.
  6. In addition, the draft contract will be discussed and specific information gaps will be filled. After the Negotiation Meeting, the bidder will receive a draft finalised version of the contract which has to be check for any errors. The bidder has to provide feedback to ESA if the contract is correct. With this feedback and after completion of the ESA internal administrative approval the final version of the contract will be issued and signed by ESA, and then sent out to the bidder for signature.

Final remarks

Assuming a good quality of Outline Proposal and Full Proposal, the total time to complete the application process is typically five to eight months.

All proposals received by ESA are treated confidential. ESA selection procedures are compliant with the criteria of transparency, impartiality and non-discrimination. ESA evaluates project proposals and provides the participants with feedback. Once the proposal is accepted, a contract is signed between ESA and the participant.