The European Defence Fund (EDF) has recently declared that the consortium known as REACTS – Responsive European Architecture for Space- is set to receive funding in the Space category. This financial allocation will empower REACTS to establish a Resilient Network of Responsive Space System (RSS) Capabilities dedicated to enhancing European Defence.
Following the second call for proposals within the framework of the European Defence Fund (EDF), a total of 41 collaborative defence research and development projects have been chosen for funding, receiving EU support amounting to nearly €832 million. Within the ‘Space’ category three projects have been singled out for financial backing. Notably, among these projects, REACTS has been selected to receive funding. Coordinated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and comprising 38 participants from 13 distinct European nations, this consortium will identify, study and define an architecture and operational concept to be able to launch satellites and start data delivery within a window of 72 hours or less. Yet, REACTS surpasses the delivery of a monolithic RSS. Instead, it envisions a holistic, scalable network of resilient, integrable, robust and redundant capabilities designed to rapidly enhance defence capabilities.
“All members are very thrilled about this news”, exclaimed Alexander Haagsma of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (Royal NLR), who was involved from the beginning of the request for proposal of REACTS. “While being part of this consortium is already exciting, the true endeavor commences now and soon we want to be able to demonstrate that our research and developments will contribute to a European responsive space capability.”
For Royal NLR, the REACTS project stands as a significant milestone, paving the way for the realisation of future resilient and responsive space infrastructure solutions for Defence and Security. In this context, REACTS aligns seamlessly with NLR’s strategic objectives as part of its research programme for Future Air & Space Power (FASP).
REACTS (Responsive European Architecture for Space) endeavors to provide European member states with a new disruptive and collaborative defence capability: a resilient and scalable network of Responsive Space Systems (RSS), fully interoperable, able to launch satellites and commence data delivery within a 72-hour timeframe. The project’s objectives encompass a holistic architecture based on the end-user needs, develop a concept of operations (CONOPS), create the roadmap for each technical and governing segment of RSS network of systems, provide an analysis and description for RSS interface standards, design a software-based configuration and simulate the achievable responsiveness.
Royal NLR contributes to the REACTS project across multiple dimensions and phases. Initially, NLR will play a pivotal role in shaping the definition of operational requirements for a Responsive Space System. During the conceptual phase concerning the launch segment level, NLR will assess aspects of aircraft certification for air launch based concepts. In relation to the space segment, NLR’s involvement extends to the assessment of responsive space missions utilising sensors for signal intelligence. Moreover, NLR takes the lead in mission assessment dedicated to space-based situational awareness involving the identification of potential threats posed by objects in space. At the ground segment level, NLR’s responsibilities encompass the evaluation of diverse antenna technologies for land-, air- and sea-based antennas. This assessment encompasses both fixed and mobile systems receiving space-based ISR-sensor data transmissions.
As the consortium introduces various RSS concepts in the synthesis phase, NLR will undertake the task of identifying capable system solutions for the ground segment level (operational constraints, risks and risk mitigation). Additionally, NLR will perform security risk analyses for the RSS concepts, pinpointing the security operational needs for the launch, satellite and payload procedures. Ultimately, NLR will undertake a comprehensive review of existing standards for C4I (Computerised Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) systems and the impact on responsive space elements.
The project is scheduled to span 21 months commencing in 2024 and secured a substantial EU contribution of nearly twenty million Euros.
For further insights into the FASP programme, please refer to the dedicated FASP programma page.