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Bottom-up space technologies at low TRL

Specific challenge: In the mid- and long-term the competitiveness of the space sector depends on the continuous incorporation of brand-new and even disruptive technologies. The European RTD investment in the field of very low-TRL technologies is to be enhanced. A number of challenges in space technologies have parallels to terrestrial challenges, for example in the fields of aeronautics, energy, environment, telecommunications and ICTs, natural resource exploration, sensors, robotics, advanced materials, security, and health.

Scope: New ideas must be incorporated into the current state of the art. As many of the advances come traditionally also from non-space sectors, an active search must be done in non-Space areas of knowledge in addition to the identification of breakthrough technologies from the space sector. This should mobilise the traditional space actors, and non-space actors, to look for space technologies of the future. The aim of this topic is to attract new actors to space and demonstrate technologies that are potentially disruptive and not only incremental. As “push” technologies, these will promise radical improved performances, and will enable emerging missions. Drastical increments in miniaturisation, power reduction, efficiency, versatility,  and increased functionality are as well expected.   

Proposals based on low TRL[1] (1-3) ideas and technologies which could have a final application in future Space systems are solicited. The target is to demonstrate them up to TRL (4-5). In this second call, proposals on several fundamental areas of knowledge are foreseen, in which for example some of the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are playing a major role. In particular, proposals are sought with relevance for the fields of: ""energy storage"", ""energy production"", ""materials and structures"", ""additive layer manufacturing techniques"", ""mechanisms"", ""wireless power transmission"", ""high performance and reliable electronics to boost on-board power"", and ""thermal control management systems"" in the domain of space.

The Commission considers that proposals implemented in less than 24 months and requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Only up to two proposals will be financed on each of the eight lines foreseen (""energy storage"", ""energy production"", ""materials and structures"", ""mechanisms"", ""additive layer manufacturing techniques"", ""high performance and reliable electronics to boost on-board power"", ""wireless power transmission"" and ""thermal control management systems"").

Expected impact: Spinning-in of new enabling technologies to space systems up to TRL 4-5 and clear indication of the ways in which these technologies can significantly improve performance and/or reduce costs if further developed.

Proposals should mobilise new incorporation of non-space actors, especially SMEs, and research groups into the space landscape.

Ideally proposals should result in developments affecting a range of sectors.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

[1] Technology Readiness Levels are defined in part G of the General Annexes. In the specific area of space, further details can be found in the European Space Agency website ""Strategic Readiness Level - The ESA Science Technology Development Route"". European Space Agency, Advanced Studies and Technology Preparation Division,