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Electric Propulsion Innovation and Competitiveness

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EPIC (Electric Propulsion Innovation and Competitiveness)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-11-30

The Electric Propulsion Innovation and Competitiveness (EPIC) project is the Programme Support Activity (PSA) of the Horizon 2020 Space Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on In-Space Electrical Propulsion and Station Keeping. EPIC mainly aims at producing a clear integrated roadmap and master plan for its implementation through the SRC Operational Grants.

Furthermore, the PSA is contributing to the monitoring of the different Operational Grants, by looking at the roadmaps and ensuring that the objectives of these grants are aligned with the roadmaps created by the PSA.


EPIC has created a website that acts as a dissemination tool that has been very effective, a description is included in the next paragraph. The dissemination activities are been implemented following the EPIC PSA Dissemination plan in close coordination with all Operational Grants under the SRC Collaboration Agreement (CoA).

The EPIC PSA dissemination and exploitation activities are aimed at: • Promoting the EPIC PSA project, its progress and results. • Improving access to useful inputs from the SRC Operational Grants. • Contribute to ensuring that the EPIC and Electric Propulsion SRC achievements are known to the potential users and future potential bidders for SRC Operational Grants. • Improving the knowledge and acceptance of the SRC and therefore contribute to the subsequent exploitation of the project results by end-users or by a potential next SRC phase beyond 2020. • Guaranteeing that the EPIC project is exploited to its full potential.


The EPIC PSA will also encourage the dissemination of results by the SRC Operational Grants holders, in a united and coordinated way as much as possible, so that all possible channels are exploited, always under the coverage of the SRC Collaboration Agreement (CoA).

EPIC education & outreach activities will be performed as far as possible in coordination and collaboration with the education & outreach activities of the EPIC Partners and its means and channels. Mainly the National Agencies and ESA will make use of their expertise and resources in organising these types of communication, education & outreach activities.
The EPIC work structure is articulated with some continuous activities (e.g. project management, dissemination) and in two cycles of recurring activities, each cycle synchronized with a specific H2020 Space Work Programme preparation.

The objectives of the 1st cycle were to:

• Initiate the project and establish the management, financial and communication structures (Task 1.1).
• Coordinate within the EPIC consortium, with the EPIC Advisory board and the THAG (Tasks 1.2 and 1.4).
• Coordinate with EC/REA (Task 1.4 and across WP4).
• Initiate dissemination activities (Task 5.1).

The specific objectives of the support of the different calls were the following:

• Analyse the state of the art and the needs on the basis of the European Harmonisation process on Electric Propulsion Technologies and consultation with stakeholders (Task 2.1).
• Collect the requirements from commercial and institutional actors, European primes and Agencies for current and future missions using EP, again including consultation with stakeholders (Task 2.2).
• Produce a gap analysis derived from the analysis of the two previous points, per application domain (Task 2.3).
• Prioritise the EP technologies per application domain, both for Incremental advances and Disruptive RTD (Tasks 3.1 and 3.2).
• Arrive, by means of the prioritisation and consultation with stakeholders to an SRC roadmap for both lines of developments in H2020 Space (Tasks 3.3 and 3.4)
• Produce a clear Master Plan for the roadmap implementation (Task 3.4).
• Prepare and provide the Commission with a draft call text for the different calls topics and related call documentation. (Task 4.1)
• Support the Commission and REA with the different calls material, including its presentation to multiple stakeholders (e.g. H2020 Space Programme Committee, H2020 Space Info Days) (Tasks 4.1 4.5 and 5.1).

The objectives of the 2nd and 3rd cycle were:

The objectives of the continuous activities were to:
• Maintain and continue the project and establish the management, financial and communication structures
• Coordinate within the EPIC PSA consortium, with the EPIC Advisory board and the THAG.
• Coordinate and support to EC/REA in areas such as monitoring of the Operationl Grants.
• Consolidate and develop dissemination activities of the SRC
• Consolidate and develop education activities and outreach of the SRC


Various dissemination channels and media had been used during the program to obtain maximum impact from the promotion of EPIC results. The channels had been selected according to the intended audience.

5 Workshops took place during the life of the project. These workshops have been a powerful tool of communication among the different actors in the community and have been also used to get enough information to update the different documents and prepare the different calls. Furthermore, the community is glad to contribute in such events where their points of view are shared and have an impact on the plans for the different activities.
The first batch of SRCs have helped European Industry to prepare the future for the electric propulsion technologies at world level. Arianespace has sold the RIT-22 propulsion system to Boeing and SAFRAN has sold the PPS5000 propulsion system to LORAL and Boeing during this period where the funding of EPIC was released.

Constellations of satellites such as Oneweb, Space X, Leosat, ICEYE, etc will require low power and low cost electric propulsion that need to be developed and optimised. The telecommunication operators such as Eutelsat have the 60% of their fleet using electric propulsion. Scientific missions such as Bepi Colombo, Mars Sample return , NGGM etc. require electric propulsion systems. The market of electric Propulsion has increased during the period in which EPIC has taken place and the Industries involved have made a good use of the resources to prepare the products of the future. Space transportation missions will also make a good use of electric propulsion as well as navigation and telecommunication projects.

Nanosatellites and microsatellites are now a new important market that is requiring electric propulsion. The EPIC program is aware of this market and provisions to prepare the European industries to face such a challenge have been taken within the programme.

The EPIC program will also help to the dissemination of the Electric Propulsion technology. The 5 workshops with their additional lessons on electric propulsion have given a wide exposure of the status and future developments of this technology. The workshops have been a powerful tool of communication and they have contributed enormously to the work of this activity. University and college students had the opportunity to participate to the EPIC lectures and they visited facilities such as the ESA Electric Propulsion lab and the Queen University electric propulsion laboratory.
EPIC Logo
EPIC Work Breakdown Structure
From the SRC Roadmap to the 2016 SRC call documents (part of work performed)
EPIC process for arriving at the SRC Roadmap (part of work performed during the reporting period)
High level SRC Roadmap
EPIC partners logos