The European Space Agency (ESA) is one of the leading space agencies in the world and a beacon of international cooperation. However, beyond the work it does specifically in the space sector, it also offers financial support to the development of services and products through the ARTES programme.
ARTES stands for Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems, and it has been running for years. It promotes research and development for European and Canadian industries to help them develop advanced technologies and concepts. There are different areas associated with it that cover a wide range of applications from business to tech development.
What is ARTES About?
The ARTES programme has many elements and includes a funding framework and follows certain criteria that must be met by Satcom companies wishing to participate.
- Future Preparations – strategic and market analysis, preliminary feasibility studies covering Satcom standards
- Competitiveness and Growth – a broad section that includes everything from individual components to entire systems, focused on products for the Satcom market
- Advanced Technology – long-term development of Satcom-related technologies currently with a low TRL
- LPM (Alphabus and Alphasat), Iris, Small GEO – the development and launch of the corresponding products, like the European Data Relay Satellite System
- ESA Space Solutions or Business Applications and Space Solutions – the development of added value through the integration of existing satellite assets
Some of the elements are very specific and meant to further existing projects, while others are more widespread in their application and approach. This means that organizations working in telecommunications or adjacent fields can benefit from the support of ESA.
The Basics of the Programme
What Does the ESA’s ARTES Programme Offer?
We provide zero-equity funding starting at €60k, as well as dedicated support and facilities. A business can obtain not only funding but also a specialized consultant who will work with them on the project. We also facilitate connections with the ESA’s business partners and lend our name and reputation to support the credibility of your organization through our brand.
ESA is particularly interested in businesses that offer commercially viable and technologically possible ideas that can engage clients. We look at experience, motivation, and industry involvement, as well as a reliable business plan that can be evaluated. ESA seeks to offer funding to those who are already engaged in business or development or people partnering with existing organizations.
How Can a Business Apply? There are Two Ways.
Open Call for Proposals
The Open Call allows anyone to pitch the idea directly to ESA via an Activity Pitch Questionnaire which is specific to the Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) programme. This direct negotiation is always open, and each idea is evaluated. It is focused on Feasibility studies and Pilot Demonstrations that are relevant to the ESA objectives. The pitch needs to follow a certain format, but it can be a good opportunity for any business to communicate a good idea directly to the agency. The application is weighed on its own, and each area has a specific focus. Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS), for example, is mainly focused on services.
ESA regularly hosts various competitions that are oriented towards a specific problem or opportunity. The agency determines what is needed, and the applications are weighed against each other.
Currently, individuals, groups, and organizations residing in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are eligible to apply for funding.
ESA can support preliminary studies, service and product development, and partner up for specific solutions with other companies and individuals, offering funding for the Satcom, telecommunications, and space sectors. We also hope to foster the adoption of space technologies for non-space sectors, which means that a lot of work is done with non-space players specifically, though not exclusively.
The Great Advantages of Working with ESA and Unique Benefits of the ARTES Programme
There are some unique advantages to working with ESA specifically and opportunities that relate to the things only a space organization can offer. We have strong networks within the space industry and beyond, especially in the fields of tech and science. ESA has a set of very high work standards, quality control, and a detail-oriented approach, recognizing the crucial importance of measuring, preparing, and developing everything as well as possible. We also have unique know-how and experience with tech support under unique and varied conditions, being able to solve novel and complex problems. Our name and brand are reliable and a reference on an international level. The space sector pushes us to innovate and explore in every task and we do so while being mindful of details, the existing context, and more.
ESA has access to cutting-edge technology and supports the development of unique devices and programmes that can be applied in the space sector as well as elsewhere, so we are able to provide technical, software, and hardware support to a wide variety of businesses. The implementation of space technology can be a win-win situation, allowing companies to use the best available solutions, to implement space technology across a variety of fields, and to gather input from a variety of customers. ESA can help design or implement unique types of technology with the help of ESA’s internal technical excellence.
Transparency and Open Access
Any company within the established geographic boundaries can negotiate directly with ESA. This provides opportunities for small and big companies alike and allows innovative ideas to come to the forefront, rather than one or two big players monopolizing the market. The process is transparent and focuses on the merit of the ideas and the ability of businesses to commit and present themselves successfully, which allows the applicant to make their case and engage in fair competition.
New Networking Opportunities for Customers, Collaborators, and Institutions
ESA acts as a partner, which in itself can bring a variety of benefits. But it also helps unlock new doors and possibilities. Through collaboration, it is possible to unlock future networking opportunities and connect with important players in the field. ESA strives to foster partnerships within the space sector, but the BASS, among others, is mostly oriented to creating bonds among non-space organizations. This entails work with a variety of fields that are brought together for the development of new projects.
Strengthening the Space Sector
The space sector can grow through new collaborations and, in turn, can help expand businesses and technological implementation on the ground. Through solid partnerships, it is possible to come up with new solutions and make strides in advancing technological development in the space sector and the applications of this technology elsewhere.
Reliability and Reputation
ESA is one of the most important organizations in its field and holds itself to a high standard. The name and reputation of ESA and its work as a partner can help businesses expand and establish themselves as key players in tech development and in the space sector specifically.
ESA works to promote the growth of the space industry, as well as the application and development of space technology across a variety of fields. We want to build strong networks and partnerships to work towards innovation that can benefit any community on Earth and beyond as well. We hope to integrate more cutting edge technology into different situations to solve existing and pressing issues, regardless of the sector. As there are hundreds of potential applications, we are open to any proposal related to space technologies and assets to serve our communities and involve them in any context where they can work effectively. However, this integration needs to involve solid technical and business practices as well to be truly innovative and beneficial.
ESA is currently putting together a variety of studies and research projects, as well as service development that can be presented clearly to the end-user. We maintain an open call for projects that are innovative and feasible, so we look forward to hearing from your organization.
ESA offers equity-free funding across member countries, providing credibility, technical know-how, guidance, and support to businesses across different sectors. Reach out to learn more. We are always looking for new partners to continue to progress.
A Win-win Relationship for All Parties
It is possible to see some examples of this win-win relationship. Space infrastructure can help with 5G, implementing support through satellite systems that can increase security, coverage, and more for this new communications system. ESA is already a major collaborator on the Satellite for 5G programme. ESA is also committed to its 4S (Space Systems for Safety and Security) for downstream providers, using SPL budget lines instead of the more standard GPL ones.
Space organizations have shown their value, and many innovations, like 5G will have to rely on this type of institution to work as efficiently as they can. Now is the best time for learning more about how the space sector and ESA ARTES programme could help your organization get ahead in your chosen field.