ESA’s Pioneer Partner programme aims to facilitate the emergence of a number of Space Mission Providers (SMPs) who can offer timely and cost-effective opportunities for public and private customers to access space. The SMP is typically a commercial entity providing a one-stop-shop service to customers, to facilitate the demonstration of new and advanced technologies, systems and services in space, with the particular aim of gaining the in-flight heritage that is often a pre-requisite to market acceptance.
Today, ESA initiated the third SMP Project in the Pioneer Partner programme, with the signature of the IODA contract by ESA and Airbus Defence and Space (FR), leading a team of Canadian and Europen companies. The contract was signed at the headquarters of ESA by Magali Vaissiere, ESA Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications and Arnaud de Rosnay, ADS Executive Vice President of Telecommunications Satellites.
The IODA project will develop the different elements of the SMP infrastructure (spacecraft, payload and ground segment) launch the satellite and validate the entire system in a multi-mission scenario. IODA SMP final objective is to offer its customers a wide range of options for In Orbit validation and/or Proof of Concept, (whether technology or service based) in a real operational environment leading to a greatly improved prospect of market take-up.
Arnaud de Rosnay, Head of Telecom Satellites in Airbus said: "Airbus DS is pleased to enter in partnership with ESA to propose IODA Space Mission Provider service with LEO Multi-mission-satellites for the large community of the European Space manufacturers and New space downstream entrepreneurs to proof and de-risk their new technologies and new downstream mission concepts in a real environment. The unique experience developed by Airbus DS in OneWeb and the excellence in Space projects are gathered into IODA to offer the service users with affordable flight opportunities based on a cost-effective platform, a Software Defined Radio payload architecture, an innovative and automated integration process and assembly line, and inclusive of a full ground segment, operations and end-to-end system support."
IODA is the third SMP to be established through the Pioneer programme since its creation at the ESA Council at Ministerial level in December 2016.
Magali Vaissiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said, "Pioneer supports the emergence of commercial European entities with the ability to offer fast and affordable access to space to public and private customers in the field of satellite telecommunications. This programme creates new opportunities for both established and new players in the fast-changing and competitive satcom market. IODA, the third Pioneer project, confirms the strong support of our Member States and industry to this initiative."