Small satellites launcher targets independent accessÂ toÂ spaceÂ for Europe
The Hague, 31 May 2016Â — The ‘Small Innovative Launcher for Europe’ (SMILE),Â aÂ European UnionÂ Horizon 2020 project,Â was officially launched by Mrs Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Member of European Parliament and co-rapporteur Space, and Mr Collin Beers, division manager of Aerospace Vehicles of NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Centre, at the European Space Solutions conference in The Hague.Â The objectives of the SMILE project are to design a concept for an innovative, cost-effective European launcher for small satellitesÂ up to 50 kg and a Europe-based launch facility atÂ AndÃ¸ya, Norway.Â SMILE targetsÂ both the market for education and in-orbit demonstration,Â and commercial, scientificÂ and governmental missions. It is Europe’s ambition to gain independent access to space for small satellites.
Expanding market for small satellites
TheÂ market for small satellites is expanding. Manufacturers of small satellites nowadays have to piggyback onÂ a large launcher which is dedicated to a primary customer. This dictates the timeline and target orbit, which is mostly conflicting with the intended missions of the small satellites.Â TheÂ newÂ launcher will provide a launch capability forÂ bothÂ the market for education and in-orbit demonstration,Â andÂ also commercial, scientific, and governmental missions.
The project result will be the launcher design and prototypes of some critical components and will be ready by end 2018. The EuropeanÂ UnionÂ contribution to the project amounts 4 million EURO for three years.
The SMILE consortium consists ofÂ NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Centre, German Aerospace Centre (DLR),Â NammoÂ RaufossÂ AS from Norway,Â Terma from Denmark,Â AndÃ¸yaÂ Space Centre (ASC) from Norway, National Institute for Aerospace Research — INCAS from Romania, Airborne Composites Automation form The Netherlands, Heron Engineering from Greece, ISIS -Innovative SolutionsÂ InÂ Space from The Netherlands, 3D Systems from Belgium, PLD Space from Spain,Â Tecnalia from Spain,Â BoesAdvies from The NetherlandsÂ and WEPA-Technologies from Germany.
Objectives SMILE project
- design a concept for an innovative, cost-effective European launcher for small satellites
- develop a Europe-based ground facility for small launchers based on the evolution of the existingÂ sounding rocket launch site atÂ AndÃ¸yaÂ SpaceÂ CenterÂ in Norway
- increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of critical technologies
- develop prototypes of componentsÂ (including materials, structures, engines, and avionics), demonstrating critical technologies
- create a roadmap defining the development plan for the small satellites launcher system from a technical, operational and economical perspective
This project has received funding from the European Union’s ‘Horizon 2020 research and innovation program’ under grant agreement No 687242.