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ESA launches a new FIRST! campaign for avionics and GNC

February 26th, 2024
The call for ideas, focused on key technologies in the domain of avionics and Guidance, Navigation and Control, will be open until March 11, 2024.

Following ESA's objective for transformation, a new FIRST! campaign for avionics and GNC has been launched.

FIRST! stands for ‘’Future Innovation Research in Space Transportation’’, and is an initiative of the ESA STS Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). In line with the decisions from the ESA Ministerial Council Meeting 2022, FIRST! designates a series of FLPP procurements in open competition, aiming at fostering disruptive technologies in Space Transportation and accelerating their de-risking through rapid prototyping and testing. The primary objective is to detect, select, and demonstrate technologies with the potential to transform their respective fields.

In pursuit of these goals, the new FIRST! campaign focuses this time on key technologies in the domain of avionics and Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC). Marking the inaugural phase of this new campaign, a call for ideas has just been launched on ESA’s Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) and will be open until March 11th, 2024.

The goal of this call is to:

  • Identify key technology providers from specific technology fields crucial to the future of European Space Transportation;

  • Identify space transportation service providers and industrial primes who are interested in disruptive technologies within these fields, understanding their needs and preferences;

  • Identify potential investors who are interested in discovering key technology providers for ESA future STS.

The technology fields selected for this new campaign are:

  • Advanced architectures for data handling system and on-board computer, including modular avionics concept, Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) or wireless communication;

  • Next generation power sources, including energy harvesting;

  • Low cost and reliable solutions for Autonomous Flight Termination Systems (AFTS);

  • Optoelectronics systems, including robust optical cable or optical switch;

  • On-board real-time optimisation of guidance and control;

  • Other avionics and GNC topics for Space Transportation technology disruptors.

If you are a technology provider with disruptive ideas in these technology fields, if you are a space transportation service provider or industrial prime interested in these areas, or if you are an investor looking for promising technology providers for future ESA STS, ESA encourages you to explore this opportunity.

The upcoming phase of the FIRST! campaign includes a pitch day to showcase the outcomes of this OSIP call, followed by an ESA Invitation to Tender dealing with the maturation activities for technology disruptors.

For more information about the call and to apply a project, you can visit the official OSIP webpage.

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