SatNEx was formed in 2004 by 22 partner research organisations and universities, coordinated by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), with the support of the EU FP6 programme as a Networks of Experts (NoE). SatNEx aimed at creating a critical mass of research in satellite communications, to harmonise research across Europe, and to provide a resource of knowledge for European industry in the field of satellite communications. The EU funding was renewed in 2006 to SatNEx-II, with 24 partners from 10 countries, for a period extended to September 2009.
Since 2009, the SatNEx has been supported by the European Space Agency. The third phase, SatNEx-III, comprised of 17 partners and was co-funded by ESA from 2010 to 2013. SatNEx-III was supported by D/TIA ARTES 1 and D/TEC Network of Centres Technical Support Programme Elements. The operation of SatNEx-III was carried out as a frame contract covering activities related to the NoE management, non-space-technology spin-in surveys, standardisation support, dissemination activities and Call-off Orders (CoO) covering specific technical investigations of interest to ESA. An Advisory Board formed by industry and operators representatives supervised the activities carried out by SatNEx III. The SatNEx III Network of Experts (NoE) completed activities in the first quarter of 2014.