Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

€10 million prize for a European low-cost space launch solution

€10 million prize for a European low-cost space launch solution
Published on: 12/06/2018
The European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prize to develop a European Low Cost Space Launch solution is now open for applications. The Prize will award €10 million to an innovative and commercially viable solution offering low-cost launch services for light satellites.
Rocket in space above Earth

Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests.

Small, light satellites are crucial to improve space-based connectivity, internet services, Earth imaging and positioning. To make sure that the EU is able to launch these satellites independently, it needs to have its own dedicated launch services for small satellites.

The Prize will be awarded to the contestant(s) who provide the best technical and sustainable low-cost launch services for light satellites. Extra points will be given to participants if they have already managed to launch light satellites and have a service concept for low-cost launch services (i.e. have a proven business plan with customers that pre-commit to the service concept) in place by the time of their application.

The deadline for application is 1 June 2021. More information, including the Rules for Contest, can be found on the EIC website.

The Prize will contribute to the objectives of the Commission’s Space Strategy for Europe, which aims at reinforcing Europe's autonomy in accessing space and at encouraging the development of commercial markets for low-cost launch solutions.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, announced the Prize on 23 January 2018 at the 10th Conference on European Space Policy in Brussels.


EIC Horizon Prizes are part of the European Innovation Council pilot run under Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The 2018-20 Work Programme of Horizon 2020, published on 27 October 2017, introduces measures to support market-creating innovation through a pilot phase of the European Innovation Council. With a budget of €2.7 billion, the EIC pilot brings together existing instruments such as the SME Instrument, Inducement Prizes, Future and Emerging Technologies, and Fast Track to Innovation.

EIC Horizon Prizes are particularly ambitious as they are expected to trigger innovations in areas where important societal problems need to be solved. These Prizes call for breakthrough solutions which should demonstrate their feasibility or potential so that innovators can take them quickly to the market.