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Technology “demonstrator projects” for exploration

Specific challenge: The EU, together with ESA, initiated the high-level platform for space exploration with three dedicated international high level conferences at ministerial level (i.e. Prague in 2009, Brussels in 2010, and Lucca in 2011). The next conference will be hosted by the United States in January 2014. One of the potential outcomes of the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) as proposed by Europe is to advance towards the identification of possible future collaboration domains building on technology “demonstrator projects,” to be proposed by one or more actors and linked to exploration missions.

Scope: This topic will allow implementing the technology “demonstrator projects” to be initiated after the ISEF meeting. These demonstrator projects would target underpinning enabling technologies for space exploration, notably robotics, novel energy production and storage, propulsion or life support, as well as atmosphere entry, return/re-entry vehicles or communication and data handling systems. Actors, including international partners, interested to participate to such demonstrator projects could form clusters around several technology “demonstrator projects”. Technology demonstrator projects open to international partnerships would allow developing cutting edge space technology making an important success factor for European researchers and industry.

In line with the objectives of the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012) 497) and the Commission Staff Working Document “A Role for Europe within a Global Space Exploration Endeavour” preparing for a European position for ISEF, international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with countries active in space exploration.

The Commission considers that proposals 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.

Expected impacts: Clusters around technology “demonstrator project” would meet and discuss how to build such projects, including governance, technical appraisal, costing aspects and possible funding arrangements. Workshops and information events should be part of the activity. Concrete results and further steps may be presented at the next ISEF meeting.

Instrument: Coordination and support actions