Share this page

Space in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak


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 spreading of the coronavirus. The AO is issued in cooperation with the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitization (MID).

ESA and the Italian Minister for Technological Innovation and Digitization (MID) signed at the end of 2019 a Memorandum of Intent to cooperate with the objective of pursuing space based activities delivering 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 its joint actions for 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 the topics of Healthcare or Education.

The main objectives of this AO are: 

  • Help the Italian citizens and professionals of the health and educational sector to deal with the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak;
  • Support the development and the adoption of services in health and in 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 novel 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 user communities which are facing similar exceptional challenges. 


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

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

  • Remote diagnosis 
  • Remote digital monitoring
  • Diagnostics, initial treatment and follow-up by sharing large data files containing information on patients between doctors and hospitals
  • (Real-time) support or training to medical personnel using videoconferencing or telepresence systems
  • Medical resources planning
  • Follow-up of patients affected by other sicknesses
  • Sanitation of infected areas

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

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


Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can:

  • Monitor movements of patients who are not hospitalised
  • Geo-reference patient data to be shared between doctors and hospitals
  • Track and route emergency vehicles/ambulances
  • Enable precise positioning and guidance of the user and any type of objects 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

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 data 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.


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 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 tendering process follows a two steps approach: 

  • The first step requires the submission of an Outline Proposal. Outline Proposals shall be submitted at the latest on 20 April 2020, 13h00 CET.
  • The Tenderers whose Outline Proposal is positively evaluated, will be invited by the Agency to prepare a Full Proposal. Full Proposals shall be submitted via ESA-star by the 18 May 2020, 13h00 CET at the latest.

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.