Atlas is an extension of ARTES 3-4 to support “first flight” opportunities on board commercial telecom satellites, giving new and upgraded products developed by European industry a greater commercial chance in a very competitive worldwide satcom market.
Satellite communication services are evolving at a rapid pace, requiring operators to launch satellites with new or upgraded equipment that can provide advanced functions.
Satellite operators must trust this new or upgraded technology. This comes from proof that it has worked successfully in space, or that it has obtained “flight heritage.” The biggest hurdle for an innovative product to successfully enter the satcom commercial market is getting its “first flight” which allows a product to claim flight heritage.
Why is it needed?
ARTES supports European industry from the concept to the development of new or upgraded products. When these products are considered “qualified”, meaning they have passed every test that can be conducted on the ground, they are considered ready for flight. ARTES has been a successful and valuable resource to industry to get innovative products and technology to this point.
Atlas provides consistent additional support with more frequent opportunities for the last developmental step needed before a commercial sale can be made, by getting the product “off the ground” and into space to obtain its flight heritage. This would efficiently increase the success rate of ESA and industry’s development efforts.
The satcom market is constantly expanding with competition coming from all over the world. For Europe to remain competitive, flight heritage for new and innovative products becomes a necessity.
How is it implemented?
Telecom satellite operators per year on average order 20 commercial telecom satellites. Every procured telecom satellite can be regarded as an opportunity to gain flight heritage for innovative products and technologies.
Atlas will be flexible to support the full range of activities involved in the flight of a product, including accommodation on board the satellite. This support will only be granted on the basis of a fair share of the benefits, costs and risks for all involved stakeholders.
Atlas will facilitate the agreement between the parties to fly innovative products while ensuring that only technology with concrete commercial benefits will be considered. This will optimise the use of public resources in the last stage prior to commercialisation of the product.
Atlas is industry-driven as are all ARTES 3-4 activities. Activities under this initiative will be identified and implemented through the ARTES 3-4 “always open” Call for Proposals allowing manufacturing industry to submit proposals at any time. ESA will generate and maintain a portfolio of “ready to fly” items in consultation with industry and keep in regular contact with operators and satellite primes to promote the Atlas Initiative and identify relevant flight opportunities.
Atlas facilitates the introduction of European innovative products into an increasingly competitive satcom market. European industry will not only improve its competitiveness with successful advanced solutions, but will also benefit from a shorter introduction time of a new or improved product into the market. Stronger working relationships between suppliers and customers will also be built.
Last Update: 01 Jul 2013