The mandatory Science Core Technology Programme (CTP) is an integral part of the Science Programme. Its objective is to ensure early and effective preparation of ESA's future science missions by advance preparation of the critical enabling technologies required for successful mission development.
An initial demonstration of the feasibility of these critical technologies is essential to enable implementation of the mission at an acceptable level of risk in terms of cost and schedule.
The initial stages of new technology development, leading up to experimental verification, are pursued through ESA's Basic Technological Research Programme (TRP). The CTP then applies these new technologies to the specific technical requirements of future science missions.
CTP-funded activity advances the technological maturity up to full-scale engineering models fully tested in relevant environmental conditions, ready for inclusion in the definition stage of the mission.
The process of science technology development begins with detailed studies defining future mission concepts and identifying the critical technologies involved. CTP activities are then initiated for all platform and payload technologies for which ESA has responsibility.
The CTP is one of ESA's mandatory activities subscribed to by all ESA Member States, operated on a three year cycle, with an annually revised technology plan.
CTP-related request for proposals are issued continuously throughout the year on ESA's EMITS website, available to all European firms on a 100 percent funding basis. In some cases small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are favoured as subcontractors to primes.
More background on the Science Core Technology Programme are available on the ESA Technology website.