Small missions are ideal tools to promote innovation and foster education and skills, while contributing cost-effectively to the implementation of European or national policy goals. They also facilitate a Member State’s future participation in more complex space programmes.
Through small missions, applications based on national and regional interests can be developed with space or non-space actors. This opens the space domain to new stakeholders, promoting growth and multiplying the benefits of space technologies in cross-sectorial domains. Small missions also offer universities and research centres new opportunities for cooperation.
Proposal to the Ministerial Council
ESA intends to promote the launch of small missions with the primary purpose of serving the interests of smaller and/or medium contributors to ESA and to reinforce their motivation to invest in space.
A stepped approach towards the implementation of an independent programme has been envisaged. Notwithstanding already identified small missions, amongst others SAT-AIS and Proba-3 for which dedicated Elements are proposed under ARTES and GSTP respectively, a specific work area will be introduced in Element 1 of GSTP (GSTP 6) to cover the initial preparatory work for a future self-standing programme devoted to the development of small missions.