Turnkey launch and operational services for the satellite industry. Photo credit: Open Cosmos

The challenges of the satellite communications market, of attaining high reliability and high performance at a lower cost and time to market, is not currently supported by opportunities to demonstrate innovative technologies in orbit. This stifles innovation and growth in the satcom sector and limits the adoption of new technologies.

With this in mind, the ARTES Pioneer programme aims to facilitate the demonstration of new and advanced technologies, systems, services and applications in a representative space environment. It supports industry competitiveness by:

  • lowering the entry barriers faced by public and private entities wishing to validate new and advanced solutions in orbit;
  • stimulating Proof of Concept Flight opportunities allowing Satcom industry to win/enable future market opportunities in services, applications and technologies

To attain these objectives, the Agency supports the emergence of one or more Space Mission Providers (SMPs), i.e. commercial entities interested in becoming one-stop-shop service providers for public and private customers. For an effective service, SMPs need to be able to offer:

  • capabilities and competences, including end-to-end mission definition, design, assembly, integration and test, deployment, operation, decommissioning, frequency spectrum management, customer interface standardization and tools, etc.;
  • infrastructure building blocks, including satellite platform and payload, communication tools and equipment for mission payload data and TT&C uplink and downlink, launch services, insurance services, ground control station for teleporting and communication infrastructure services, etc. 


Pioneer SMP Ecosystem 

Under the PIONEER program one or several partnership(s) can be established, where a dedicated project will cover each potential SMP, such as the SAPION project with Open Cosmos.

PIONEER Project Benefits

The benefits for the prospective customers of the SMP are:

  • Time, cost and resource efficient access to Proof of Concept solutions
  • Demonstration to users/customers of feasibility and performance in an operational environment,  thereby gaining service acceptance
  • Validation of new technologies and system concept in an environment with lower risk
  • Establish commercial partnerships ahead of commercial service roll-out
  • For institutions and academic customers, a means of boosting innovation and the development of disruptive services and technologies

The benefits for the SMP are:

  • Capture a new market opportunity for which unmet demand exists
  • Enable recurring sales of equipment and space access services
  • Enable potential systems spin-off into different market segments
  • Capitalise from frequent return-of-experience to optimise the technology; infrastructure and service provision

The benefits for the Pioneer infrastructure building block providers are:

  • Develop infrastructure building blocks, both generic and optimized for recurrent production for the Satcom market
  • Enable recurring sales for the commercial follow up (e.g. satellites, user terminals, payloads, services etc.)
  • Enable commercial and/or competitive solutions to spin-off into new markets
  • Enable easier entry into the upstream (space segment) supply chain for companies that are new to the space business or that wish to move upstream
  • Establish commercial relation with both the SMP and prospective customers

The benefits for ESA Member States are:

  • Enables an early adoption and flight heritage development of innovative solutions and systems across all satcom domains (Ground, Space, System, Applications)
  • Enables the easier implementation for new satcom based services with high impact on the downstream sectors, generating additional business opportunities and revenues across the whole satcom value chain
  • Provides an opportunity for companies in smaller or newer Member States thatlack satellite flight or satcom solutions/services experience by reducing the barriers to entry into the provision of satellite solutions
  • Potentially creates synergies across ARTES, and other programmeswithin and beyond the Agency, e.g. EDRS, Megaconstellation, Govsatcom, future PPPs, Navigation, Earth Observation, Space Situational Awareness, Science
  • Stimulate cost reductions with benefits to Agency and the wider Member State industry customers.




Published 22 May 2017
Last updated at 15 December 2017 - 12:44