Call for Interest - Small GEO Mission
ESA is in the process of developing and procuring a proto-flight model of a small geostationary satellite platform. In order to qualify the platform and demonstrate it in orbit, ESA is now seeking a private operator or service provider to fly an operational telecommunications payload on the proto-flight spacecraft and share the funding and risks of the satellite, launch and insurance.
The Small Geostationary Satellite initiative has as its aim the development of a general-purpose small geostationary satellite platform which will enable European industry to compete effectively in the commercial telecommunications market for small platforms.
To achieve this, ESA has established a new element in its ARTES Programme (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems). This new element, ARTES 11, is divided into two parts:
- development of a platform supporting a payload mass of up to 300 kg, payload power consumption of up to 3 kW and an operational lifetime of up to 15 years
- development and launch of a small geostationary satellite mission to provide flight qualification and in-orbit demonstration of the platform
ESA has recently signed a contract with a consortium led by OHB-System (Germany) for the development and procurement of the Small GEO satellite platform.
The Small GEO platform proto-flight model, which will be property of ESA, will be ready for launch in 2011. ESA will make this platform available without charge to the chosen operator. In return, the operator will take the risk of embarking an operational payload on the new platform, commits to operate the Small GEO satellite for at least three years and agrees to provide ESA with the in-orbit test results of the new platform.
In addition to the platform, ESA offers possible access to research and development funding to cover part of the non-recurring costs of the payload and associated communication system.
The Small GEO mission provides the opportunity to stimulate the development of new services and applications and ESA will favour those operators who intend to fly innovative payloads, which would permit the new services to be introduced and/or become commercially viable.
After receiving an unsolicited proposal from an operator's consortium, ESA is now assessing whether other private entities are willing and able to offer similar conditions.
Those organisations interested in the opportunity offered by the Small GEO mission should refer to the formal letter issued by ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Navigation – ‘Call for Interest – Small GEO Mission’ – in the menu at the right of this page. Expressions of interest must be made in writing, following the requirements set out in the letter, by 11 July 2007.