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 Eutelsat Quantum, Pacis3, QKDSAT, EDRS which form part of a portfolio of more than 12 satellite-based systems at different stages of implementation.

These projects 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 not otherwise be available.

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 got off the ground because they would have been deemed too technically or commercially risky.

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. The recent socio-economic study conducted by the highly esteemed agency Euroconsult have shown that for every euro spent by ESA Member States in Partnership Projects, there is a return of up to 23 euros in benefits.

Satellite Partnership Projects at a Glance

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

MICROGEO develops and qualifies a new satellite product lines, that enables European space industry to deliver commercially competitive satellites in the 800 kg launch mass range. The programme includes the in-orbit validation of the new platform.

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.

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.

PACIS3 Govsatcom Precursor project is realised by ESA in partnership with Hisdesat and Airbus, and will develop, qualify and validate in-orbit innovative antenna technology and demonstrate novel pooling and sharing concepts. It ultimately aims to provide more affordable, flexible and secure communications services for governmental users in Europe.

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.

SAT-AIS - Satellite Automatic Identification System will make it possible to track seafaring vessels beyond coastal areas that are equipped with AIS tracking devices. SAT-AIS is a promising solution to overcome terrestrial coverage limitations with the potential to provide AIS service for any given area on Earth. ESA is promoting a European-based SAT-AIS system in partnership with the European Maritime Safety Agency.

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.

Electra supports the European satellite industry to develop, launch and validate in orbit a full electric-propulsion telecommunications satellite in the 3-tonne launch mass range.

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

SmallGEO is a multipurpose geostationary satellite platform capable of accommodating a wide range of commercial telecommunication payloads and missions, from TV broadcasting to multimedia applications.

LPM is the ESA programme to develop, in cooperation with the French space agency (CNES), the large platforms for telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit.

Hylas1 the first satellite created specifically to deliver broadband access to European consumers. 

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