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In-orbit validation/demonstration – Mission design, integration and implementation (RIA Research and Innovation action) - SPACE-18-TEC-2019-2020
Deadline: Mar 12, 2019  

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Specific Challenge:

One of the main objectives of the Space strategy for Europe is to foster a globally competitive and innovative European space sector in particular by improving support to technological maturity, for sub-systems, equipment and technologies, including in-orbit demonstration and validation activities, to reduce time to market.

To ensure European non-dependence and competitiveness in technologies, there is a clear need for a regular, sustainable, cost-effective and responsive IOD/IOV service in Europe. Space flight heritage in real conditions and environment is often required to de-risk innovations such as new technologies, products, concepts, architectures, and operations techniques are they for unique or recurrent, institutional or commercial missions.

Although flight opportunities do exist, these are often difficult to find ad hoc at affordable cost and/or in the required timeframe, and at an acceptable risk for the main mission.

The main challenge of the overall IOD/IOV activities is to provide a regular and cost-effective solution for common flight ticket actions (management, spacecraft design and possible reuse for multiple mission, Assembly, integration and Tests, launch and operations) based on European solutions both for the spacecraft (i.e. platform and aggregate of experiments) and for the ground and launch services.

Concerning launch aspects, IOD/IOV shall support the European launcher exploitation policy, therefore relying on European manufactured launcher solutions.

The specific challenge of this activity is to provide solutions for the mission analysis, planning, design, experiments accommodation and implementation.


In order to bring these innovations to maturity and market applicability, the activities shall comprise all the necessary tasks to prepare, provide and operate spacecraft(s), together with the related ground segment, which accommodates the pre-selected IOD/IOV experiments. The activities include:

  • System studies, at ground and space level, including the compatibility with the available launchers;
  • Input to the launch mission analysis performed by the launch service provider;
  • Selection, assembly, integration and testing of the spacecraft(s) and related ground segment;
  • Management of interfaces with and between the different IOD/IOV experiments, between the satellite and the launcher and between the satellite and the ground segment;
  • Preparation of the spacecraft(s) for the flight;
  • In-orbit testing and operations including the provision of experiments data.

Such an IOD/IOV service should be built on European solutions available for the spacecraft, ground segment and launch system.

The proposals will only consider those experiments which have already reached a sufficient TRL to proceed as IOD/IOV candidates.

The IOD/IOV actions are selected according to the process described in the technical guidance document published together with this work programme. Accordingly, proposals shall only address the IOD/IOV actions presented in this guidance document and shall include the necessary engineering reviews, a contingency management plan and associated resources (roughly 10%) in line with the provisions of that document.

Selected projects resulting from SPACE-18-TEC-2019-2020 shall interface with ESA and the European Launch Service Provider in the context of their engineering support and launch services activities respectively on the basis of a collaboration agreement.

Participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 20 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Maximise IOD/IOV opportunities;
  • Significant contribution to the reduction of time to market of the innovations subject of the IOD/IOV actions compared with the situation today;
  • Support to European IOD/IOV solutions including space and associated ground segment;
  • Aggregation of IOD/IOV demand for European launch services.

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