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New space transportation solutions and services


There are emerging opportunities in space transportation out of which some are recently started to being seized by European actors characterised by new uses of space (e.g. small satellites, larger constellations and payload recovery) new destinations (e.g. direct GEO, re-entry from LEO).

The expected proposed activities should contribute to the maturation up to TRL5-6 of enabling new technologies and subsystems (including common building blocks) in the field of green propulsion, micro launchers and associated launch facilities, kick stage, orbital propulsion and distancing, attitude and landing, re-entry solutions, smart satellite deployment systems/dispensers, for space transportation including also new routes up to Lunar orbit or surface.

The maturation could go up to subsystem and system [[ This excludes full launcher development]] level technology demonstration and must include at least one of the following areas and linked technologies:

  • Technologies for recovery of Space Transport vehicles elements:
    • Technologies to be matured in order to allow the re-entry of launcher elements through the entire atmospheric flight domain from in-orbit up to soft landing on earth: Controlled hypersonic flight, the highly dynamic decent and landing maneuvre, aerodynamics and aerothermal design, attitude control system, actuators and propulsion system, advanced GNC design, propellant management/sloshing and system transient dynamics, low cost re-entry protection system, low cost, low weight and high performance structures.
    • Technologies enabling recovery, high reuse and limited refurbishment need of launcher fairing: low cost and scalable concept design, structure with early consideration of manufacturing, distancing devices, recovery means solution, demonstrators for recovery and maintenance/overhaul.
    • Technologies maturation for micro launcher first stage and booster stage. reusability concepts that have a strong potential for cost reduction.
  • Space Transportation technologies in support to In-orbit servicing systems:
    • Technologies allowing the in orbit reuse of a green and sustainable cryogenic elements for multiple operations and missions in-orbit: green propulsion and green Kick stage, versatile operation of cryogenic upper stages as on-orbits platforms, cryogenic propellant management for long duration missions, high multi-restart capability for in-space cryogenic engines, in-orbits cryogenics tanks, electric pumps for in-space propulsion, in-space refueling for cryogenic systems, interface and connection to in-space solutions, innovative low cost materials for in-space applications, attitude control systems (RACS), advanced avionics, GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control).

All the activities should be complementary and coherent with the ESA on-going or future activities in particular those decided at the last ESA Ministerial held in November 2019 and planned to be decided at the ESA Ministerial planned in November 2022.

Proposals should provide all IPR dependencies and dependencies with other on-going activities, and detail the implementation, the reporting and the organisational as well as steering measures that will be taken to ensure that the proposed activities can be implemented and can achieve all the expected outcomes within the project schedule and budget.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.