ESA’s Pioneer partner programme aims to facilitate the emergence of a number of Space Mission Providers (SMPs) who can provide timely, 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 key in-flight heritage.
This week, ESA initiated the second SMP to be created with the help of the Pioneer partner programme, with the signature of the STRIVING contract by ESA and a consortium led by SITAEL (IT), including Tyrak International, IMT and Planatek Italia. The project will be co-funded up to 50% with ESA contributing €4.25m. The contract was signed at the headquarters of ASI, the Italian Space Agency, who have supported the consortium in their application for co-funding via the ESA ARTES programme, of which Pioneer is a part.
The STRIVING project will culminate in the launch of a validation mission, anticipated in H2 2019. While the consortium can offer a range of platforms, the validation mission will demonstrate the SMP service provided by the consortium using the SITAEL developed S-75 microsat platform.
SITAEL Chief Executive Officer Nicola Zaccheo said: "STRIVING is a very innovative In Orbit Demonstration platform increasing the new space technologies availability in a very quick and effective way. The small satellites utilisation will offer to the space market a timely and cost effective service in order to answer the fast-running market needs arising from the Space Economy."
This is the second SMP to be established through the Pioneer programme since its creation by the ESA Council at Ministerial level in December 2016.
Carlo Elia, Head of ESA's Telecommunication Technology Department, said, "The Italian industrial consortium undertaking the STRIVING development, led by SITAEL and supported by the Italian Space Agency, will enable the demonstration of new and advanced technologies, systems and services in space. This is fully in line with the objectives of the overall Pioneer programme, of which STRIVING is a cornerstone".