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Modern, flexible and efficient European test, production and launch facilities

Cost reduction and improving flexibility of European launch systems are the main challenges in order to foster European industry competitiveness on the global market.

Europe needs to improve the cost efficiency of the access to space ground facilities and of launch systems production and operations for the launchers essential for the implementation of EU space programme. It could benefit from the current transformational wave in industry, which has the potential to exploit digitalisation and advanced data management for lowering the cost of low production rate facilities and further improving quality.

In addition, access to space ground facilities in Europe need to become interoperable allowing to decrease the launch service costs.

In coherence with WP21-22, the activities will address one or several of the following listed domains under a) and/or b):

a. Multi sites flexible industrial platform:

Feasibility study and maturation of key technologies in representative conditions, including cost benefits assessment of a flexible platform as a tool for existing and future European space launcher products, to enable a cost-efficient approach including existing Manufacturing Assembly Integration and Testing capabilities as design constraints, to increase economical robustness against variable production rates in the rocket industry and to optimise transfer from existing to new launcher productions.

To explore, including from other industrial sectors, the use of a value-stream mapping (including the material- and information flow) in the field of Design to Manufacturing, Integration, Maintenance and Operation capabilities including improvements based on advanced data management and Artificial Intelligence. Maturation of technologies, including for reusable parts of the launch systems.

b. Develop standardised and cost-effective innovative technologies to improve cost efficiency of Test and Launch facilities, their interoperability and compatibility/attractiveness for new users, including one or several of the following domains:

  1. modern data handling, data processing, diagnostic techniques
  2. eco-friendly technologies,
  3. automation and innovative controls,
  4. mobile telemetry systems, mobile payload preparation facilities,
  5. security and safety

The maturation will go up to an incremental demonstration of key technologies.

In addition solutions for improving flexibility (for new actors and concepts), configurability and interoperability of European test and launch facilities, including existing operational facilities, will be address:

For launch facilities, activities shall address standards and means related to launch range, operations, communication, safety (this may also include safety equipment to be installed on-board: development and/or tests). The objective is to allow to operate multiple-launchers from different launch sites in order to minimize the impact on their definition.

For test facilities, activities shall address analysis and means with regards to flexibility for multiple/green propulsions and adaptation of engine test capacities to reach modular and smart engine test simulator.

The maturation will go up to an incremental demonstration of key technologies.

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.