Specific challenge: The ability to access space is a vital strategic capability for Europe as it has been underlined by EU Council in several resolutions and conclusions. Such capability is necessary to ensure a leading position alongside other major spacefaring nations. The present topic will support research into breakthrough technologies to provide access to space which are complementary and in synergy with the on-going wok undertaken by Member States and the European Space Agency to develop solutions for affordable and reliable launcher capabilities. Research efforts should strengthen Europe’s capability in terms of having an available, reliable and competitive launch service and lead to cheaper new solutions to ensure the development of a world-class European space-industry and satellite-based applications and services.
Scope: All possible technologies and launching systems, including partly reusable systems and subsystems, will be considered provided that they can demonstrate complementarity and no overlapping with on-going launcher developments and credible realization options. Due consideration will be given to the potential of these technologies to strengthen competitiveness and cost-efficiency as well to their commercial potential. Areas of potential improvements for conventional launching systems could be: high energy density green propellants, high performance engineered materials for advanced lightweight structures and components, innovative avionics solutions for safer and more reliable launch operations, adaptation and use of the launcher upper stages for providing extra functionality regarding multiple access to space of small payloads and platforms. Regarding innovative systems to access space, proposals should have a consistent approach to prove fulfilment of market demands and superiority over classical systems. It is welcomed to explore new solutions for affordable and reliable launcher capabilities in benefit of the wide spectrum of European space RTD community needs (from sub-orbital to orbital injection).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected impact: The technological developments to be addressed must target either a breakthrough in technologies for accessing space or a relevant optimisation or cost reduction of the launch present propulsion systems in terms of fostering the European capabilities of accessing space. It is welcomed to explore new solutions for affordable and reliable launcher capabilities in benefit of the wide spectrum of European space RTD community needs (from sub-orbital to orbital injection).
Incremental or disruptive advances over current technologies and functionalities must be proven and assessed in terms of economic end-to-end viability. In this context, key advances to achieve a quick and frequent access to space will be prioritised.
Technologies identified not addressed in the equivalent 2014 call will be preferentially considered.
Type of action: Research and innovation actions.