Space for Urban Air Mobility

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  • ActivityFeasibility Study
  • Opening date01 March 2021
  • Closing date21 May 2021


Enabling efficient and effective mobility in urban areas is a key challenge. Urban air Mobility (UAM) aims at bringing urban mobility into the third dimension – the airspace (with flying vehicles) - to address this challenge. UAM encompasses air passenger and cargo transportation within the city and at the fringe, with vehicles ranging from small drones to passenger aircrafts. The last few years have seen the start of a multitude of initiatives to develop needed vehicles, infrastructures, and regulations, involving manufacturers, air traffic control operators, city planners, and municipalities.

With this new opportunity, in collaboration with European cities, ESA aims to support the development of innovative space-based applications which could foster the implementation and safe & secure operations of the next generation urban mobility.

Key focus areas

  • Delivery of goods
  • Passenger transport
  • Public Safety 
  • Emergency services
  • Integration into U-Space / air traffic services


Space technologies and data can play a key role in the development and operation of UAM.

Satellite Navigation (SatNav):

  • Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) will contribute to UAM operations by allowing UAM vehicles positioning, navigation and tracking.
  • The European Galileo system may be a key enabler of UAM. Its High Accuracy Service will provide high precision positioning for safe landing, navigation and take-off operations. Its future authentication capability will also prevent risks of GNSS signal spoofing. 

Satellite Communication (SatCom)

  • Satellite Communications can safely and securely connect mobile UAM vehicles with control centers in the absence of terrestrial communications or in case of terrestrial network failures.
  • Satellite communications systems can be used to track vehicles and allow to maintain an up-to-date situational awareness. 
  • The convergence between SatCom and terrestrial communications in the future 5G mobile network will be a key enabler for satisfying the requirements of high-speed, reliable and secure communications in the context of UAM.

 Satellite Earth Observation (EO):

  • Sat EO data provides diverse geospatial, environmental, mapping information.
  • In combination with other data, they can support the strategic planning of the UAM infrastructure, taking into consideration possible demand for transport services and impact on environment and population.


ESA Space Solutions will provide funding to successful teams looking to investigate the technical feasibility and economic viability of space-based applications in support of the development and operations of UAM services, and define a roadmap for services implementation and demonstration.

The activities will be 100% funded up to €200K per activity.


We’re looking for teams that have identified potentially attractive market opportunities for future UAM users and customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas for developing UAM related commercially viable, technically feasible business ideas that involve either space technology or space data. For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: (AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LU, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE).


Responding to an open competitive Invitation to Tender (ITT) requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the case that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.

For the fully detailed Proposal Guide on competitive ITTs click: Open Competition.


The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.


  • 10 February 2021, 11:00 CET