ESA has issued an open-ended Announcement of Opportunity for co-funded studies on platforms and facilities in low Earth orbit.
As the operational life of the International Space Station (ISS) comes to an end in the next decade, new partners are welcome to work on orbital infrastructures and transportation for affordable research platforms and novel applications.
The ISS has been enabling human spaceflight and microgravity research for the past 15 years and it is still the most remarkable research centre in space.
European industry, with the support of international partners, developed the Columbus laboratory with its state-of-the art life and material science payloads. Numerous scientific experiments have been successfully conducted thanks to European curiosity 400 km above our heads.
Calling all passengers
Time has now come for ESA to reflect on the future of the ISS. Following the adoption of the European Exploration Envelope Programme at the last ESA Ministerial meeting in December 2016, the Agency is open to new business models with commercial partners.
As US companies are already planning for orbital post-ISS platforms in public-private partnership, it is important to assess the role of European industry in a service-driven LEO economy.
The new ESA Announcement of Opportunity calls for concepts that allow for sustainable human-tended and automated research and applications in low Earth orbit in partnership with the private sector.
Access the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) Post-ISS human spaceflight research and applications capabilities in low Earth orbit at: http://emits.sso.esa.int
To check compatibility with the open Call for commercial partnerships, please click here.