Partnership Projects

ESA’s Partnership Projects provide the satellite communication industry with the right environment to introduce innovative space-based solutions systems into the commercial market. 

ESA has implemented several Partnership Projects through its programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES). These include Eagle 1, HummingSat, Novacom and Triton-X, ranging from large geostationary satellites to cubesats, as part of a portfolio of more than 50 satellite-based systems at different stages of implementation.

These demonstrate the unique results of Partnership Projects in federating European industry around large-scale programmes and developing innovative cutting-edge solutions in partnership with private and public operators.

ESA Partnership Projects generate major benefits for industry and Member States by fostering the competitiveness of the satcom industry in Europe and Canada, and by creating new value-added solutions and opportunities for industry that would otherwise not be offered.

Moreover, Partnership Projects facilitate pioneering innovation through greater risk sharing, with ESA bearing the risks related to the development of innovative solutions and the operators assuming the commercial risks in answer to market needs. Without this partnership approach, many projects would never have emerged because they would have been too risky either technically or commercially.

ESA’s involvement ensures high quality and performance; supporting primes and subcontractors while offering a tailored and efficient approach based on commercial best practice.

Partnership Projects generate strong socio-economic benefits for European countries. All ESA stakeholders report substantial benefits against most critical economic, technologic and strategic factors. Partnerships projects also enable greater risk sharing and positive trade-offs between the technological development and the commercial constraints of the missions. 

Partnership Projects

For more information, please download the SEI presentation.

ESA is offering an opportunity for private parties within ESA’s Member States and Canada to propose potential Partnership Projects.

For further information, please contact

Related Projects

HummingSat offers an affordable solution for Geostationary orbit satellites, thanks to its small size, light weight and design adapted to launcher rider missions. HummingSat satellites use innovative additive manufactured radio-frequency equipment. They complement larger legacy spacecraft, boosting and expanding capacity where needed.

Eagle-1 will boost European autonomy in cybersecurity and communications. It will be the first space-based quantum key distribution system to be developed under a partnership between ESA, the European Commission and European space companies predominantly from Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland and led by Luxembourg operator SES.

Triton-X is a new micro-satellites product line and the first multi-mission platform for launches into low Earth orbit. The platform can accommodate payloads up to 90 kg for a wide range of applications including telecommunications, Earth observation, in-orbit demonstration and validation, situational awareness and optical missions. The programme covers on-ground qualification of the generic platform and in-orbit demonstration and validation of the innovative avionics sub-system.

QKDSat (Quantum Key Distribution Satellite) will offer a wide variety of cryptographic applications, serving government and private sectors where the security and confidentiality of shared information is critical. It is being developed by ESA in partnership with a private partner, which is a newly formed private QKD services operator called ArQit.

Next Generation Platform (NEOSAT) develops and qualifies two new satellite product lines, Eurostar Neo and Spacebus Neo, that enables the European space industry to deliver commercially competitive satellites in the 3 to 6 tonnes launch mass range. The programme includes the in-orbit validation of the new platforms. Neosat is a joint undertaking between ESA and the French Space Agency (CNES) with joint programme management.

PACIS 3 is a Partnership Project (PP) involving satellite operator Hisdesat and the European Space Agency (ESA), with support from Spain’s Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). 

Eutelsat Quantum, the “chameleon” satellite, is a pioneering programme that will influence how telecommunication satellites are procured and manufactured in Europe. Providing agility in responding to changes in geographical or performance market demand, during satellite manufacturing or after launch, it addresses emerging business opportunities. It is implemented under a public-private partnership between ESA and satellite operator Eutelsat.

Pioneer aims to facilitate the demonstration of new and advanced technologies, systems, services and applications in a representative space environment.

European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS) is designed to relay data between satellites in low orbit and Earth via satellites in geostationary orbit. Using innovative laser communication technology, it allows transmission of large quantities of data with reduced delay. It is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus (DE). EDRS forms the “SpaceDataHighway” for Europe, made up of one hosted data-relay payload (EDRS-A), one data-relay payload on a dedicated satellite (EDRS-C), and a dedicated ground segment. The EDRS SpaceDataHighway frees Europe from reliance on foreign ground stations.

Older Partnership Projects include SAT-AIS - Satellite Automatic Identification System to track ships at sea, Electra for a full electric-propulsion telecommunications satellite in the 3-tonne launch mass range, the SmallGEO multipurpose geostationary satellite platform and the LPM large platforms for telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit.

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