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Electric Propulsion Innovation and Competitiveness 2.0 (EPIC2)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EPIC2 (Electric Propulsion Innovation and Competitiveness 2.0 (EPIC2))

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-01-31

The Electric Propulsion Innovation & Competitiveness 2.0 (EPIC2) project aims to continue the activities initiated by the project EPIC (640199) in line with the objectives of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 (5.iii. Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies - Space) provisions in the frame of the Programme Support Activity (PSA), for the implementation of the Electric Propulsion technology Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) in Horizon 2020, during 39 months up to the full spending of the overall available budget in the H2020 WP 2018-2020 of 3,0 M€ for this activity. The further continuation of the activities after 39 months or the full spending of the budget, will be decided in due time in order to complete the SRC implementation activities up to the end of 2024 as scheduled.
The PSA consortium will ensure the coordination and necessary exchange of information and knowledge between the different SRC Operational Grants within the Electric Propulsion SRC by providing:
• Assessment of the various activities and results of the respective SRC Operational Grants in support to REA.
• Update of the master plan, as needed, to coordinate all the activities for the duration of the respective SRC Operational Grants.
• Identification of the activities required to address the challenge of the respective topics.
• Coherence of actions within the fields of Electric Propulsion with the aim to enhance the competitiveness of the European space industry in this field on the global market and to ensure validated technologies for potential use in the EU programmes.

EPIC2 will provide advice to the European Commission (EC) to assess the results of the Operational Grants and their potential evolution with respect to the overall SRC roadmap in full coordination and support to the Research Executive Agency (REA).
EPIC2 will provide updated roadmaps of activities and an updated master plan for its coordination and implementation through the rest of the execution of the Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on “In-space Electrical Propulsion and Station-Keeping”. The produced roadmap in its implementation through the operational grants of the SRC and correctly coordinated by the EPIC2 Programme Support Activity (PSA), will contribute to increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of future EP technologies and their integration in EP products. This will allow the development of EP thrusters and corresponding sub systems to be available no later than 2024 for integration in IOD/IOV flight experiments and/or into operational missions with the necessary complement of qualification to cover the missions’ specificities.
- Assessment of the various activities and results of the respective SRC Operational Grants in support to REA.

- Dissemination and Education activities, mainly around the organization of EPIC Workshops and the exploitation of its results. Several presentations to conferences and Universities were performed during this period.
• Direct Support to be given to the EC/REA for the whole duration of the PSA project, and support to REA in the assessment and monitoring of the various activities and results of the respective SRCs projects (WP3),
• Dissemination and Education activities, mainly around the organization of EPIC Workshops and the exploitation of its results (WP4),
• Technology mapping and application requirements follow-on to update of the roadmaps and masterplan taking into account ESA EP Harmonization updates and the results of the SRC OGs, and EPIC2 activities (WP2),

The EPIC project has helped European Electric Propulsion industry to develop products that are now sold not only to European spacecraft primes but also to American primes such as Boeing. Boeing would like to embark the PPS5000 and the RIT-22 for their telecommunication spacecraft. These two electric propulsion systems received funding in the frame of EPIC. Furthermore, constellation of satellites such as Starlink or OneWeb are using electric propulsion systems from America and Russia, the low power Hall Effect thrusters from Busek, SpaceX and Fakel. EPIC is funding development of such thrusters at European level to compete at world level.
5kW Ion Engine firing in a vacuum chamber