Backnang, 1 July 2024. ESA – under its Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES)’ Space for 5G/6G & Sustainable Connectivity programme line – selected TESAT for a pioneering 6G satellite precursor. 

The goal of the project is to deliver an in-orbit laboratory, gaining knowledge on End-to-End-Connectivity and the inclusion of satellites in terrestrial mobile networks. It is expected that the result will bring valuable information for the 6G standardization. 6G applications can boost the technological potential of the European digital and aerospace industry and broadband connectivity even further. This opens up growth potential and applications beyond imagination. 

Unlimited worldwide access to the internet through seamless network availability is only possible if terrestrial networks are connected to additional network points from space. This project is laying the foundations for future communication technology, namely space-based communication hubs with extremely high-data rates for Europe's digital future.

The 6G LINO (6G laboratory in orbit) will produce a 16U CubeSat - a small satellite with specific dimensions - and bring it to a low earth orbit. A satellite of this length is similar in size to a small refrigerator. In addition, a full 5G-based ground segment including a core network will be set up to allow end-to-end tests, which will include the satellite.

Thomas Reinartz, CEO of Tesat-Spacecom, said on the new 6G precursor project: "This pioneering project demonstrates to the space world once again the capabilities of the European space sector and, in particular, of the German space industry. It also confirms the relevance and importance of the ESA-ARTES technology development programmes for creating future technologies. And it will make Europe more independent and competitive. Through our participation in this ESA-funded project we take responsibility for building up system expertise as a prime in end-to-end communication and 6G technology in Germany. We and the consortium are making our contribution by developing the key digital technologies. In this way, we are making a strong commitment to Europe, Germany and Baden-Württemberg."

Open Cosmos (UK), Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS (GER), University of Surrey (UK), Airbus Defence and Space Friedrichshafen (GER), Deutsche Telekom Business Solutions (GER) are forming the consortium. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (FIN) will provide the RF-payload-part as a supplier. It is planned to include Satellite Applications Catapult (UK) at a later stage to support with a second ground infrastructure.

The role of ESA and its national strategic partner German Space Agency at DLR is a key element of strengthening the technical sovereignty of Europe, as they drive forward technological developments with foresight and their expertise, said TESAT Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Siegbert Martin: "The project describes above all the importance of the geo-return. Without such a principle, policy-making options of governments, space agencies and industry would be very limited. It also shows that TESAT has developed into a catalyst and hub for SMEs, science, politics and non-space companies. The TESAT mindset is now driving even more ideas to enable applications and business cases through technology and to industrialise scalable power electronics.”

„6G LINO offers a great opportunity to test processor technologies, algorithms and AI methods of potential 5G/6G use cases. This will help to establish satellites as a ubiquitous connectivity solution integrated into terrestrial infrastructures. We are very pleased to support the German partners in this endeavour and thus strengthen the German industry in the growing market segment of non-terrestrial networks”, said Dr. Walther Pelzer, Director General of the German Space Agency, who coordinates the German Budget to ESA on behalf of the German Government.

Antonio Franchi, Head of ESA’s Space for 5G/6G & Sustainable Connectivity programme line, said: “ESA is delighted to support this extremely important project, which will help pave the way for the future of satellite communication technology and with the aim to bring value to Europe’s 6G roadmap.”

In the first phase, the satellite will be launched into orbit after 18 months. In the second stage the mission begins. Initially, a 12 month orbital experimentation phase is planned, which can be extended by a further year.



TESAT supplies the key components for satellite communications that are utilized from telecommunications through navigation and climate/earth observation to science. The product range spans from the smallest space-specific components to modules, entire assemblies or payloads. More than half of all communication satellites in orbit have TESAT equipment on board. It is being developed, assembled, integrated and tested by around 1,100 employees in Backnang, Germany and in Merritt Island, Florida. TESAT is the first company that has been delivering products and systems for optical communications via laser in space. As the leading manufacturer in its field, the company helps to sustainably connect the world and make it a better place to live for everyone.



The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia are Associate Members. ESA has established formal cooperation with four Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions. Learn more about ESA at


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Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG
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71522 Backnang