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Lift-off for partnership between VTT and ESA

VTT has singled out the satellite industry as one of its strategic focus areas.ESA

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the European Space Agency (ESA) have inked a strategic partnership agreement to develop non-terrestrial 5G networks.

The two organisations have signed a letter of intent to launch a number of projects in the next three years in order to examine the requirements for integrating on-the-ground and in-orbit fifth-generation (5G) networks.

“Integrating satellite into 5G is vital both for the growth of the commercial space industry and for making 5G truly ubiquitous,” explained senior telecommunication systems engineer Maria Guta from ESA.

Satellite communications are expected to supplement the coverage of terrestrial 5G networks.

“Satellite connectivity is needed particularly in areas where it would not be economically feasible to build terrestrial networks, such as sparsely populated or distant areas, including the sea, air traffic or frontier areas,” elaborated Marko Höyhtyä, team leader at VTT.

The projects will utilise VTT’s live trial platforms to simulate different solutions. The duo have a long history of collaboration, an example of which is the recent W-Cube nanosatellite project with Finnish company Reaktor.

“Our intent is to encourage European space and non-space industry to make use of the live trial platforms that VTT have developed, which are necessary to enable and demonstrate satellite/5G integration,” said Guta.

By: Samuli Ojala