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European Advanced Reusable Satellite

Project description

Reusable spacecraft for affordable in-space scientific research and commercial applications

One way to make space exploitation more accessible (and affordable) is to build spacecraft that can be reused. The EU-funded EARS project will design a reusable low-cost spacecraft. Specifically, the spacecraft will be designed to be launched in low Earth orbit to support a variety of small experiments and microgravity manufacturing for orbital periods longer than a year. When its mission is over, it will return to Earth autonomously to be reused with minimal refurbishment. The spacecraft will be able to reposition itself and perform a controlled re-entry. After re-entry, a steerable gliding parachute will be deployed to decelerate the spacecraft and ensure it soft-lands at a designated landing site.


This program proposes to design and build a low-cost spacecraft capable of supporting a variety of small experiments for orbital periods potentially longer than a year. The vehicle is to be designed to operate and return to Earth autonomously, to be reusable with minimal refurbishment, and to be compatible with common launch vehicles secondary payload attachments. The spacecraft is based on a current microsatellite platform with the addition of a heat shield, a powerful propulsion system and a recover system. The spacecraft is launched in LEO and perform its mission, which can be IOD/IOV, microgravity scientific experiments, or commercial activities like microgravity manufacturing. Thanks to its own propulsion system the spacecraft can re-position itself and perform a controlled reentry. After reentry and when the vehicle slows to the designated Mach number, a drogue parachute will be deployed which will decelerate the vehicle to a condition permitting deployment of the steerable gliding parachute. Terminal descent on the main parachute is controlled so that the vehicle soft-lands at a designated landing site. The reusability feature has four main advantages:
- Recover of the payload for usage/inspection/analysis
- Possibility to reuse the satellite for different missions
- Possibility to abort a mission without loss of the payload
- Limited pollution, debris mitigation both on ground and in orbit
This platform follows the call indications as it deals with re-entry technologies, green propulsion, advanced GNC. Marketing surveys have indicated that there is considerable user interest for such a platform.


Net EU contribution
€ 200 000,00
00185 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 200 000,00

Participants (5)