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IODISPlay Report Summary

Project ID: 640253
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IODISPlay (IOD service mISsions PortfoLio)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In-Orbit demonstration (IOD) and Validation (IOV) is considered one of the main means to boost the competitiveness of space technologies, as it provides flight experience and heritage to new technologies or products, thereby increasing their attractiveness in the market.
Current IOD/IOV possibilities are restricted to either the identification of carriers of opportunity (where IOD/IOV has to fulfil with fixed requirements and interfaces, limited to a top-down approach) or to dedicated missions where a satellite is designed as a compromise among the needs of a number of identified technologies to be demonstrated in orbit. Moreover, often political choices drive the selection of the technologies to be validated in orbit, sometimes at the expenses of more interesting technologies in terms of innovation, time-to-market and future mission or industrial application.
On one hand, this approach strongly limits the maximum available potential of IOD/IOV. On the other hand, current trends in modular satellites, the now dynamic panorama of space launchers and innovative concepts certainly offers new and extended possibilities for IOD/IOV.
This situation has resulted in the so-called TRL (Technology Readiness Level) valley of death, which is related to the fact that many interesting technologies are stuck at mid-TRL levels and cannot get to the market. This is also due to the fact that, along the TRL ladder, the cost of increasing a technology’s maturity is inversely related to the availability of funding.

In this view, IODISPLay has the following objectives:
- To assess current IOD/IOV needs (in terms of current and future European space technologies) and capabilities, as well as current IOD/IOV service market
- To analyse current and future available/existing IOD/IOV carriers concepts and also ad-hoc modifications to enhance the IOD/IOV capabilities of already existing concepts.
- To provide an IOD/IOV missionisation tool (IOD MITO), which can structure all the information on IOD/IOV capabilities and needs within Europe, as well as intuitively checking feasibility and characteristics of IOD/IOV mission configurations.
- To identify a portfolio of IOD/IOV missions and concepts achievable and affordable within H2020 timeframe;
- To identify the scheme for a European IOD/IOV service, which would enable frequent, affordable and predictable in-orbit demonstration opportunities
- To identify a number of IOD mission concepts that will be preliminary designed and that will serve as use cases of the IOD/IOV service
- To prepare and analyse the business plan of an IOD/IOV service, including the need for institutional support

During the project, a substantial amount of data on the technologies that would profit from IOD/IOV, as well as the carriers and launchers that would bring them to orbit, has been obtained and structured in a database. This has once more validated the existence of the “valley of death” of the TRL, as well as a need of shift of paradigm if the situation is to be changed. Based on the information contained in the database, a portfolio of promising IOD mission concepts has been identified

The main result of our study has been that within the current situation most of the identified interesting technologies would not find their way to flight. In order to solve this problem, the concept of an IOD service scheme has been proposed and preliminarily outlined within IODISPLay. This has also been endorsed by the main messages gathered during an IOD workshop organised by the project and held at ESA/ESTEC in November 2015 with all major stakeholders, which highlighted the need of fostering a scheme for providing frequent and ideally self-sustainable access to space.

The scheme foreseen by IODISPLAY is based on a European IOD commercial service, where an entity would act as a single stop shop for all actors interested in an IOD/IOV, as well as subcontract all the main activities needed to implement an IOD mission.
The IOD se

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

*IOD/IOV capabilities

In order to assess the status of IOD within Europe, the first phase of the project has been devoted to gather information from industries and R&D institutes on past and present IOD initiatives and missions. The collected information have been categorized in three different groups:
- Technologies: which includes all the “IOD/IOV payloads” that need to be demonstrated in orbit
- Carriers: which includes the spacecraft bus (current and proposed) that can give services for demonstrating or validating technologies in orbit
- Launchers: that include launch vectors (current or proposed) capable of delivering IOD missions to space
While the information on platforms and launchers has been mostly gathered through desk research, the team did an extensive active investigation on technologies that could profit from IOD, setting up a scheme (based on emails and 1-to-1 phone calls) which involved technology developers from all over Europe. For each category, specific questionnaires templates have been prepared and filled out.

In our European-wide survey, a total of 154 technology proposals have been suggested for IOD by more than 70 different entities. Fig 1 shows the IOD proposals received per country and per type of organisation, showing a fairly good coverage of European countries and organisations.

Fig 2 depicts the coverage achieved, from the received questionnaires, in terms of Technology Domains defined in ESA’s Technology Tree classification. It has to be noted that some proposed technology can be categorized under more than one Technology Domain (the upper branch of ESA’s Technology Tree). It has to be noted that the type of technologies that has been received has been very diverse: from single subsystem technologies to complete spacecraft subsystems or payloads, going to complex techniques.
Looking at the application of the technologies that have been proposed (Fig 3 depicts the technologies proposed against the ESA’s Service Domains), one can see that most of them are generic ones and therefore applicable to a wide variety of space missions.

A research has been carried out in order to identify carriers that could be applicable to an IOD mission. Our research has focused on satellites up to the Minisat range (below 500kg), and has identified a large number of platforms with a different degree of flight heritage. Among all these platforms, detailed information on their performances and services available to IOD payloads has been gathered for a total of 30 carriers, including also modified upper stages that could offer enough resources for demonstrating/validating payloads in orbit.
Similarly, information on current and future launchers that could be used by an IOD mission has been gathered. These include European Launch Vehicles (Ariane5, Soyuz, VEGA as well as the in-development Ariane6), as well as other interesting launches for small satellites like DNEPR or PSLV. For the selected launch vehicles, the launch manifest up to 2020 has been collected.
All the retrieved information has been structured in a database, which allows browsing and comparing characteristics of the different technologies, such as the requirements that these technologies impose on a carrier for their demonstration in orbit.
The information is stored in tables and then ready by a script that presents to the user html reports. Different technologies can be combined together into “IOD mission configurations”, which also present to the user which carriers are compatible with the selected technologies combinations and the remaining margins. This can be done with the Missionisation Tool (MITO tool), which can help the user to quickly assess the main characteristics (mass, power, pointing accuracy, ROM price) of different IOD mission configurations. Also, the tool suggests additional technologies that may be included in order to use the spare space on the selected carrier for a given IOD mission configuration. Similarly, t

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Some IOD initiatives (mainly institutional) have already tried to go in the direction of organizing an IOD service. The German TET-1 mission has been funded by the DLR’s On-Orbit Verification programme (launched in 2012). The initial idea of this mission is that it would initiate a program with recurrent IOD missions based on the TET platform. The second TET mission however did not obtain funding from DLR (TET-2 has been studied up to phase B): currently a fully financed mission is not foreseen by DLR. Similarly, UK’s TechDemoSat (TDS, launched in 2014) initiative resulted into a single shot IOD mission.
Now DLR and UKSA are joining forces with the bi-lateral EuroIOD common initiative, with Phase A studies funded through ESA’s GSTP program. The initiative, presented at the IOD workshop, aims at bringing together the experience in TET and TDS, especially of the integrators OHB/AstroFein (TET) and SSTL (TDS). The initiative foresees one IOD mission every two year, with a payload selection competition running in parallel with the mission definition.
ESA’s Technology Flight Opportunities (under GSTP element 3) have the objective of matching payloads with satellites that offer spare room to host them. ESA acts as a middleman and provides the database that links the two parties (payload and carrier), as well as potentially financing the cost of the payload through GSTP programs. Also, ESA has a track record of successful IOD PROBA missions, implemented under full institutional funding (through GSTP programme). These missions do not have, however, the intention of being initiators or part of a service.
More recently, the Spanish SME TestInSpace has launched an initiative where IOD is possible on-board of 3U cubesat platforms, supported by a grant for the H2020 SME initiative phase 1. ESA is also now leaning towards the use of cubesats for performing IOD missions, such as the case of the GOMX-3 mission. Similarly, the UK’s Space Applications Catapult has recently started an initiative for IOD using cubesats, to be deployed from the ISS.

Some generic considerations can be done about the characteristics of these mentioned past and on-going experiences:
- In the recent years the IOD problem has been tackled under multiple and different schemes
- None of those have had or has up to date a clear commercial objective or is underlying a successful service scheme
- The TET and TDS platforms are both in the range of 120/150 kg (with around 50kg of payload), which may result in relatively high costs. Same is for PROBA missions. Focusing the service on smaller platforms could potentially lower the costs and make the price for commercial customers more appealing, though the need for large (institutional) payloads still exists
- Some of them have been deployed only at national level, without exploiting the potential of a European-wide market
- The institutional effort is thus required to setting up an IOD service scheme

The IOD scheme proposed in IODISPLay aims at going beyond the state of the art, providing clear benefits to the European space arena, offering IOD opportunities that will be:
- Predictable, allowing planning and set aside IOD resources in the development roadmap of a new technology;
- Frequent, maximising opportunities for flying technologies (1-2 per year as goal)
- Affordable, as limited resources impose that an IOD service can become a reality only if available at low cost, justifying investment in demonstration flights from technology developers

The potential impact of our study is to contribute to the emergence of such IOD service. This could be done also through H2020 support, which can take form in the following ways:
- Ensuring an anchoring client to the IOD service, such as being the client for the IOD office and profit from its services
- Offer in-kind elements to the implementation of the IOD missions such as, for instance, the provision of a European launcher
- Providing financial support to the setup of t

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