Business opportunities for SMEs with LET-SME
ESA intends to issue an Announcement of Opportunity calling for innovative technology proposals as part of its Leading-Edge Technology (LET-SME) Programme.
"Our LET-SME programme is setup to encourage participation by high-tech small and medium size companies (SMEs) in defining the Agency’s technological programmes," says Nora Bougharouat, ESA's SME Initiative Manager.
"It give the SMEs an opportunity to carry out feasibility studies or preliminary validations to demonstrate the application of their technologies, products or procedures to the solution of technical problems encountered in space programmes."
The proposals submitted in reply to this Announcement of Opportunity (AO) should be focused on early stage development and feasibility demonstration of new technologies that have a strong possibility of being incorporated into future ESA projects and space missions. Existing technologies or processes that propose an important improvement over those already in use will also be considered provided this improvement is clearly substantiated, and the corresponding space application identified.
The selected topics for this LET-SME 2004 are the following:
- engineering tools for qualification of optical coatings
- alternative rigidisation methods for inflatable structures
- low-power, small hall effect propulsion systems
- green hydrogen peroxide monopropellant rocket engine with advanced catalytic beds
- integrated plasma and fluid dynamics solvers
The programme calls for innovative solutions and technologies for these topics identified by ESA. These industry-driven technologies will allow the Agency to prepare for long-term technological capabilities and to define new space missions and applications.
Only SMEs from ESA Member States are allowed to bid as main contractors, and universities and/or research institutes may participate as a partner of an SME, on the condition that their share of work focuses on their field of expertise and represents a limited part of the overall work.
The selected proposals will receive a funding commensurate to the proposed activities, typically ranging from €50 000 to a maximum of €200 000 each, for a study duration of between 6 and 18 months.
The Invitation to Tender (ITT) will be issued before the end of August 2004 on the Agency's ITT system EMITS.