ESA has set up an ‘open call’ for proposals from European commercial entities for new services in the domain of space transportation to space, in space, returning from space, or any combination of these.
This permanently open call is part of Boost! – ESA's Commercial Space Transportation Services Element 1 to support European economic operators in developing and deploying new commercial space transportation services.
To be eligible, the economic operator should demonstrate that its space transportation service is a ‘complete offering’. This means that customers should not need to procure any additional essential service elements such as access to facilities, transport or logistics, to obtain the full service.
The economic operator should take full responsibility for the service project, including finding the funding and resources necessary to develop and deploy the service.
The new space transportation services should justify commercial viability, oriented toward private sector customers, without relying on a guaranteed European institutional demand during the operational phase and with a long-term vision of service provision. Preference will be given to such service projects that are conceived, developed and commercialised in the Participating States.
Economic operators can submit their proposals at any time as long as their project has reached the required level of maturity [see EMITS] in terms of technical implementation and funding status. Compliance with relevant entry requirements should be demonstrated.
Support from Boost!
Support from Boost! will mainly take the form of co-funding of the service projects.
When submitting service proposals, economic operators may seek ESA co-funding for selected activities on one or more of the following:
- Technology development and maturation forming an integral part of the proposed service;
- System and sub-system developments, qualification and associated testing;
- Development and qualification of processes and procedures;
- Software development and qualification;
- Means of production, test facilities, jigs and tools, mechanical and electrical ground support, excluding civil works;
- First service items or proof of concept hardware.
Economic operators may request additional assistance from ESA. This could be technical or business expertise available across ESA; access to public facilities such as R&D laboratories; test facilities and benches and other resources. Co-funding principles also apply to these services.
Besides co-funding, ESA may support economic operators on a best effort basis with networking and facilitating access to third-party financing mechanisms by providing:
- Links to other relevant projects,
- Cooperation with the European Investment Bank,
- Networking with potential investors.
Tendering and procurement process
Economic operators are invited to initiate the tendering process by submitting service proposals in response to ESA’s ‘Open Call for Proposals’.
The Agency will admit proposals only from economic operators residing in any of those ESA Member States participating in the Commercial Space Transportation Element.
To date, these Participating States are: Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The tendering process follows a two-step approach:
Step 1 – Submission of an outline service proposal, allowing ESA to check compliance with Programme objectives and general eligibility. After a positive assessment, ESA will invite the economic operator to submit a full service proposal.
Step 2 – Submission of a full service proposal, accompanied by notifications of support by relevant Participating States for the parts of the service proposed for co-funding by ESA. The full service proposal will be assessed in detail and may lead to the award of a contract to the tenderer for co-funding.
The service proposals should contain the following information:
- Description of the business opportunity being addressed and commercial viability of the proposed service.
- Technical and financial planning for the service development and deployment.
- The proposed programme of work seeking ESA co-funding.
ESA carries out the eligibility assessment of the outline service proposals in batches, every six weeks. In the case of a positive evaluation, ESA will request the full service proposal within a deadline of eight weeks. This full service proposal will undergo a formal tender evaluation process and all the procedures that lead to a possible contract.
The open call uses EMITS, ESA’s Electronic Mailing Invitation to Tender System. Please follow this link to access all relevant information in the announcement of opportunity.
Access to the tender documentation requires registration with ESA. Find out how to register here.
For further information on doing business with ESA, click here.
For information on how to prepare and submit a proposal through ESA's esa-star tendering system, click here.
Get started by following this step-by-step tutorial on how to submit your proposal to Boost!.