The dynamic approach to innovation embodied in the Directorate of Technical and Quality Management’s technology programmes extends beyond them to ESA’s cross-cutting initiatives, first introduced in 2012.
Each initiative is focused on a particular theme of interest for the future of the space industry, taking into account the needs of user programmes and industry as well as the potential of technology and R&D. The implementation of these cross-cutting initiatives bridges different programmes, technical disciplines and technology levels, encouraging external partnerships where appropriate.
As expected, innovation is stimulated when different disciplines meet. The cross-cutting initiatives have already proved very fruitful, with a new initiative called Advanced Manufacturing being established out of one branch of Clean Space, the most established of the initiatives, as well as exploratory activities in the metallurgy and material domains. And a new mission candidate has been developed through Clean Space, which will be put forward to the Council of Ministers for endorsement in late 2016.