.@esa is looking to support the development of commercial cargo capabilities to support the International Space Station and then commercial space stations.
Companies should come with solutions to send a minimum of two tonnes of pressurised cargo to the International Space Station by the end of 2028 on a demonstration mission and return to Earth with at least one tonne of cargo. Returning cargo to Earth benefits scientific research by returning samples back to the community.
Am I missing something? How do ESA and China expect their commercial cargo programs to be successful by skipping the COTS phase and going directly to CRS?ESA: https://ideas.esa.int/m3#object_d5e84ff808fb97dbb978c1630e1900d7China: http://www.cmse.gov.cn/gfgg/202305/t20230515_53551.html
mmmm..trying to read hidden message in this
There is none. I'm just trying to understand what the strategy is here. CRS only worked because of the (very hard) work NASA put into COTS.
True, but NASA had a very lean staff for most of COTS. Cargo Dragon 2 mission is where they ramped up to essentially CRS level staffing. The COTS heavy lifting was behind the scenes: Keeping prying eyes away (and meshing NASA and SpaceX culture) so they didn't kill the program.
I get that (hah!); but the $400 million to get SpaceX to the point at which is could support CRS was super important. By contrast ESA is putting 2 million euro on the table, with the promise of contracts down the line.
Ahh, I didn't realize you meant the money part (vs. the whole program). $2M is laughable, agreed.
Isn’t the ESA one exactly a COTS-equivalent though (using existing launchers)? I doubt it will enter regular service before the ISS is gone.The Chinese one is puzzling though, no Chinese company is doing anything bigger than small recoverable experiment carrying sats so far…
Regarding ESA, it's COTS-like, but there is no COTS money. (I.e. NASA gave SpaceX milestone payments worth $400 million from 2006-2012). Orbital received a similar amount.
PhasesThe Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative is articulated in three phases (the dates provided are preliminary and may be adjusted in the course of the initiative): Phase 1-1 (Sep. 2023 – June 2024)Phase 1-2 (July 2024 – Dec 2025)Phase 2 (Jan 2026 – Dec 2028)In Phase 1-1, which is the subject of the present Call for Proposals, up to two companies will be selected to advance their cargo delivery services up to the definition of a preliminary design and the securing of appropriate third-party financing. In Phase 1-2, the service design of those companies that were successful in Phase 1-1 will be finalized and test articles produced to de-risk the most critical areas. In parallel, the companies involved will continue to secure the necessary third-party financing. Phase 2 is the final step leading to the demonstration mission to the ISS before the end of 2028. This phase will be open to all companies, not just those that participated in Phase 1, as part of a separate procurement action....Key Financial AspectsESA has allocated a total of 2 MEuros for the execution of Phase 1-1, including both direct financial support and the financial countervalue of any in-kind support. The financial volumes associated with subsequent phases (i.e. Phase 1-2 and 2) will be defined at a later stage, taking into account the information acquired during Phase 1-1.
“Am I missing something??”“Hah, journalist is missing something! Journalists should never ask clarifying questions, only be right!”
In case you missed it, I published issue 77 of the newsletter yesterday. In this issue, I looked at the recent Susie announcement from @ArianeGroup and what it means for the project.
The vehicles that are likely competing for @esa Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative contracts.Right to left [sic]: @ArianeGroup Susie, The Exploration Company Nyx, and @rfa_space Argo.
ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher says in remarks at the European Space Summit that he is asking ESA member states to endorse a commercial cargo program, with the goal of having a vehicle able to transport cargo to and from the ISS by 2028.
The date of 2028 is not credible. Probably betting of an extension of ISS beyond 2030 but it is not politically correct (yet) to announce 2032...The funding is not existent, no fresh money so probably raiding other programs for small pocket money.
ESA will launch a competition of launchers without weight class limitation. "So it will be an open weight class or competition or challenge where we ask industry to offer a launch service without us specifying the launch," Aschbacher. To be introduced at next ministerial in 2025
ESA has been asked to act fast and act differently. A new team to be created to start a challenge. ESA will be an anchor customer, not defining the service. Will be buying a commercial cargo return service in 2028. Masses to and from ISS not set by ESA.
RequirementsR1: The proposal shall be based on a privately-led initiative, with the Economic Operator taking responsibility for the full service development, deployment (incl. launch procurement), and funding scheme, throughout the whole value chain. R2: The proposal shall target a commercially viable and sustainable business opportunity, oriented toward private sector customers, relying only on a minimum guaranteed European institutional demand in the operational phase and with a long-term vision of service provision. R3: The proposal shall cover the end-to-end implementation of a cargo transportation service to and from human outposts in LEO, with specific focus on demonstrating such service in a demo mission to the International Space Station before the end of 2028. R4: The demonstration mission shall deliver a minimum of 2 tons of pressurised cargo and safely return to Earth a minimum of 1 ton from the International Space Station. R5: The proposed cargo transportation service shall be compliant with the interface requirements contained in SSP 50808. R6: The proposed cargo transportation service shall be launcher agnostic. R7: The Bidder shall propose a milestone plan covering all three phases (Phase 1-1, Phase 1-2, Phase 2) of the Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative. Each milestone shall be associated with both technical and financial success criteria. R8: As a minimum, the milestone plan shall include as technical success criteria: - the completion of preliminary design or equivalent by the end of Phase 1-1 - the completion of critical design or equivalent by the end of Phase 1-2R9: As a minimum, the milestone plan shall include as financial success criteria: -the acquisition of appropriate third-party financing to complete Phase 1-2, by the end of Phase 1-1 -the acquisition of appropriate third-party financing to procure the launch of the demonstration mission, by the end of Phase 1-2R10: The proposal shall clearly specify the amount of financial support that is required of ESA in each of the three phases of the Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative. R11: The proposal shall clearly specify the type of in-kind support (and its estimated financial countervalue) that is required of ESA in each of the three phases of the Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative. R12: The proposal shall include and justify a projected price per kilogram to the International Space Station for the proposed transportation service after the successful execution of the demonstration mission.