The space sector is a strategic asset contributing to the independence, security and prosperity of Europe and its role in the world. Europe needs non-dependent access to critical space technologies, which is a conditio-sine-qua-non for achieving Europe’s strategic objectives. "Non-dependence" refers to the possibility for Europe to have free, unrestricted access to any required space technology. Whenever possible multiple (>1) sources for the critical technologies shall be promoted across Europe. Reaching non-dependence in certain technologies will open new markets to our industries and will increase the overall competitiveness of the European Space sector.
Research in technologies for European non-dependence and competitiveness has been undertaken within the frame of the Joint EC-ESA-EDA Task Force on Critical Technologies for European non-Dependence, launched in 2008. The Joint Task Force recently updated the list of actions for 2015-2017.
Activities shall address technologies identified on the list of Actions for 2015/2017 focusing on those areas that have not so far benefitted from prior Framework Programme funding and representing the highest potential for being implemented through the types of action available in Horizon 2020.
Accordingly, the following priority technologies have been identified:
- U09 - Cost effective multi - junction solar cells for space applications.
- U16 - Space qualified GaN components and demonstrators.
- U17 - High density (up to 1000 pins and beyond) assemblies on PCB and PCBs.
- U21 - Very high speed serial interfaces.
- U23 – Development of large deployable structures for antennas.
- U26 - Space qualified carbon fibre and pre-impregnated material sources for launchers and satellite subsystems.
Technological spin in and/or bilateral collaborations should be enhanced between European non-space and space industries and proposals are expected to provide advanced critical technologies that are of common interest to different space application domains (e.g. telecom, Earth observation, science, etc.), or even with applicability to terrestrial domains.
Proposals should strive to go beyond the present state-of-the-art or, preferably, the expected state of the art at the time of completion if alternative technologies are being developed outside Europe. High level specifications and key requirements can be found in the list of actions for 2015-2017.
Proposals should include a work package dedicated to the development of a commercial evaluation of the technology, and should address how to access the commercial market with a full range (preload) of recurring products.
A maximum of one proposal per identified priority technology line will be selected for funding.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 5 million would allow this specific topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
In projects to be funded under this topic participation of industry, in particular SMEs, is encouraged.
- Reduce the dependence on critical technologies and capabilities from outside Europe for future space applications, as identified in the list of Actions for 2015/2017 as part of the Joint EC-ESA-EDA task force on Critical Technologies;
- Develop, or regain in the mid-term, the European capacity to operate independently in space, e.g. by developing in a timely manner reliable and affordable space technologies that in some cases may already exist outside Europe or in European terrestrial applications;
- Enhance the technical capabilities and overall competitiveness of European space industry satellite vendors on the worldwide market;
- Open new competition opportunities for European manufacturers by reducing the dependency on export restricted technologies that are of strategic importance to future European space efforts;
- Enable the European industry to get non-restricted access to high performance technologies that will allow increasing its competitiveness and expertise in the space domain;
- Improve the overall European space technology landscape and complement the activities of European and national space programmes;
- Greater industrial relevance of research actions and output as demonstrated by deeper involvement of industry, including SMEs, and stronger take-up of research results;
- Fostering links between academia and industry, accelerating and broadening technology transfer.
Excerpt from "Critical Space Technologies for European Strategic Non-Dependence – Actions for 2015/2017" (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/research/horizon-2020)