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Competition: Developing Europe's space cargo return service

ESA is launching a competition which initiates a first phase of activities for European companies to eventually demonstrate a complete cargo delivery service to and from space stations in low-Earth orbit by 2028. An online briefing meeting is planned for 8 January 2024

ESA is now launching a Call for Proposals for a LEO Cargo Vehicle. You can find it on the ESA Star portal.

The Call will foresee a briefing meeting tentatively planned for 08/01/2024. The relevant details and the meeting link for attendance will be provided through a clarification in esa-star.

With this new initiative, European industry will develop a way to bring cargo to and from space stations in low-Earth orbit before the end of this decade, providing Europe with access to space, further bartering prospects, and the opportunity for European industry to develop commercial services for cargo transportation to low-Earth orbit on the global market.

This cargo service could also become a stepping stone to develop one day a crew transportation to low-Earth orbit and possibly a cargo return capability from the Gateway. This opportunity is a first step in ESA’s renewed ambitious space exploration programme supporting Europe's continued journey to low-Earth orbit and beyond to the Moon and Mars.

The decision to go for this initiative was taken at the recent Space Summit in Sevilla. In this first phase, selected companies will be asked to carry out all activities necessary to enabling a first flight demonstration to the International Space Station by 2028; this should be part of the ESA Director General’s proposal at the next ESA council at ministerial level in 2025, where representatives of the Agency's Member States make decisions on the entirety of ESA’s programmes.

Photo: ESA: ATV-2 Docking


Peter Mandix Sehestedt
Tlf.: +45 72 31 82 02
Email: pse@ufm.dk
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