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CGI gets ESA order to develop predictive routing tool for satellite constellations

Tool will support increased need to equip satellite networks with software-defined networking to deliver simplified management, better end-to-end network automation support and streamlined delivery of network services

The race to space for broadband communications has reached a higher orbit with the European Space Agency (ESA) commissioning CGI to develop a dynamic predictive routing (DPR) tool.

The contract will see CGI develop a DPR tool that is designed to improve routing protocols for complex network technologies such as those found within low Earth orbit or hybrid low Earth orbit/medium Earth orbit/geostationary Earth orbit (LEO/MEO/GEO) satellite constellations, enabling operators to be more efficient while improving service to customers.

DPR technology supports the increased need to equip satellite networks with software-defined networking (SDN) to deliver simplified management, better end-to-end network automation support and streamlined delivery of network services. It is used to improve SDN systems and help network operators successfully adopt IP services in meshed networks in the space and ground segments. DPR will support satellite network operators to plan network efficiency, reduce latency and increase network throughput.

CGI is partnering with TESAT-Spacecom, a market leader in the field of telecommunication payloads and laser communications, to develop this project. The DPR project builds on CGI’s end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator platform, CGI AccelerateAI360, along with a series of solutions for the global satellite communications marketplace which form the CGI Autonomous Satcom Solutions (AUTSS) programme.

CGI has a track record spanning over 40 years in delivering space software systems for clients across Europe, Australia, Asia and North America, ranging from supporting satellite navigation, communications and operations, to space-enabled applications.

Jaime Reed, vice-president for CGI’s UK and Australia space data platforms and applications arm, said: “DPR will enable satellite network operators to make use of machine learning [ML] and AI to enhance their complex route planning. We are combining our AI and ML expertise, with our heritage in satellite planning for mega constellations, to deliver a platform that enables satcom providers to identify innovative ways to be more efficient and effective.”

The contract sits under ESA’s ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Core Competitiveness programme, led by the Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate, with the support of the UK Space Agency.

Elodie Viau, ESA’s director of telecommunications and integrated applications directorate, said: “It’s a pleasure to work with our long-standing partner CGI on another innovative project within the ARTES Core Competitiveness programme, with the support of the UK Space Agency. This project is another example of how Europe is staying at the forefront of technological development, providing for our ESA member states and their citizens.”

In May 2022, ESA announced that the non-geostationary MEO satellite network of SES would be part of the governmental satellite communications (GovSatCom)-grade satellite communications platform that it co-funded. Based on O3b high-throughput, low-latency and secure communications, the MEO satellite network is designed for data-intensive applications sought by European governments, such as remotely piloted aircraft systems operations, high-performance networks and cloud services, and allowing for AI and ML.

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