Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : EIC Horizon Prize for 'European Low-Cost Space Launch'

Topic identifier: Space-EICPrize-2019
Publication date: 12 June 2018

Types of action: IPr Inducement Prize
Opening date:
12 June 2018
Deadline: 01 June 2021 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The challenge is to develop a European technologically non-dependent solution for launching light satellites[1]

into Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), which will enable dedicated low-cost launches with committed schedule and orbit.

The solution needs to be innovative, implementable, affordable in development and exploitation phases, and commercially viable. Applicants are required to take a holistic approach and produce results that move beyond (but are complementary to) existing solutions. Moreover, the solution will enhance on European access to space and associated technological non-dependence and thereby will provide strategic and competitive advantages for European companies, SMEs, universities, and research organisations.

Space technologies, data and services have become indispensable to the daily lives of European citizens. Moreover, development of space technology boosts jobs, growth, and investments in Europe and strengthens its role in the world. Space solutions can help Europe to respond better to new global and societal challenges: climate change, disaster management, security threats, migration, farming, transport, energy, and many more.

While Europe has a world-class space sector, innovation in space and changing demands are leading to an increased appearance of light and agile satellites. Consequently, space solutions will increasingly consider this trend. Small satellites are well-suited for most kinds of institutional and commercial use: wireless communications networks, Internet services, broader connectivity, scientific observation, data gathering, Earth imaging, and positioning. In terms of size, light satellites rely on a lower mass in comparison with conventional satellites. Their production is more cost-effective due to series manufacturing, agility and flexibility in operations. However, light satellites will also lead to an exponential increase in launch needs by 2020-2025.

Launch opportunities in Europe for this type of satellites are currently being standardised through auxiliary payload or rideshare solutions on the European launcher fleet. However, according to market studies, light satellites are expected to lead to a significant increase in launch needs by 2020-2025.

An established service for regular launches dedicated to small satellites will contribute to achieve the following goals:

  • internal market growth in the manufacturing sector of small launchers and satellites and the downstream services sector;
  • European leading position in export markets globally in the field of light satellites and small launchers;
  • space-enabled seamless solutions for European citizens thanks to operational light satellites and small launchers.

The specific rules of the contest will be published in the fourth quarter of 2017 by the European Commission, which will directly launch and manage the contest and award the prize based on the judgement of independent experts. [2]

Expected Impact:

European low-cost access to space infrastructure and services solution dedicated to light satellites.

[1]Class 1 (mini sats): 200.1Kg – 400Kg, Class 2 (micro sats): 60.1Kg – 200Kg, Class 3 (nano sats, including 12U+): 25.1Kg – 60Kg, Class 4 (cubesats, including 1U, 3U, 6U): 1Kg – 25Kg.

[2]A pre-selection phase may be done by Commission services in case of numerous applications received.

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in part 4 of the Rules for Contest.

2. Eligibility and exclusion criteria: described in part 4 of the Rules for Contest.

The contest is open to all legal entities (i.e. natural or legal persons, including international organisations) or groups of legal entities established in an EU Member State or in a country associated to Horizon 2020. The prize relates to the development of European critical space infrastructure, which is of strategic importance and security-critical for the Union and its Member States. Therefore: (1) participation in this prize contest will be limited to legal entities established in EU Member States and Countries Associated to Horizon 2020;
(2) the rules of contest:
(a) stipulate that a proposal may be rejected for security reasons;
(b) provide further details on the obligation to develop and deploy the solution in an EU Member State.

Proposal page limits and layout:

The page limit for the application (Part B) is 150 pages.

Application layout: please refer to the application template.

3. Evaluation and award criteria and procedure: described in part 5 and part 7 of the Rules for Contest.

The prize will be awarded, after closure of the contest, to the contestant(s) who in the opinion of the jury demonstrates a solution that best meets the following cumulative criteria:

  • Excellence
  • Technical implementation;
  • Service sustainability.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and award of prize:

The jury evaluation is planned to take place between June 2021 and October 2021.

The prize will be awarded in November - December 2021.

5. Application template:

This application template serves as an example. The template to be filled in is available after entering the submission tool below.

Members of consortium are not required to conclude a consortium agreement as ... [Insert text to duly justify this exception]

6. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
2. Future and Emerging Technologies (FETs) WP 2018-20
5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) WP 2018-20
5i. Information and communication technologies (ICT) WP 2018-20
5ii. Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology WP 2018-20
5iii. Space WP 2018-20
6. Access to risk finance WP 2018-20
7. Innovation in SMEs WP 2018-20
8. Health, demographic change and well-being WP 2018-20
9. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy WP 2018-20
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy WP 2018-20
11. Smart, green and integrated transport WP 2018-20
12. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials WP 2018-20
13. Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies WP 2018-20
14. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens WP 2018-20
15. Spreading excellence and widening participation WP 2018-20
16. Science with and for society WP 2018-20
17. European Innovation Council (EIC) WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Euratom Work Programme 2018-20
Legal basis: Euratom Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment

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Type of Action Inducement Prize [IPr]
Topic EIC Horizon Prize for 'European Low-Cost Space Launch' - Space-EICPrize-2019
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