ESA title

Small missions

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ESA / About Us / Ministerial Council 2012

Small missions are ideal tools to promote innovation and foster education and skills, while contributing cost-effectively to the implementation of European or national policy goals. They also facilitate a Member State’s future participation in more complex space programmes.

Through small missions, applications based on national and regional interests can be developed with space or non-space actors. This opens the space domain to new stakeholders, promoting growth and multiplying the benefits of space technologies in cross-sectorial domains. Small missions also offer universities and research centres new opportunities for cooperation.

Proba-3 formation-flying
Proba-3 formation-flying

Proposal to the Ministerial Council

ESA intends to promote the launch of small missions with the primary purpose of serving the interests of smaller and/or medium contributors to ESA and to reinforce their motivation to invest in space.

A stepped approach towards the implementation of an independent programme has been envisaged. Notwithstanding already identified small missions, amongst others SAT-AIS and Proba-3 for which dedicated Elements are proposed under ARTES and GSTP respectively, a specific work area will be introduced in Element 1 of GSTP (GSTP 6) to cover the initial preparatory work for a future self-standing programme devoted to the development of small missions.

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