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Announcement of opportunity to fly payloads on ESA’s Space Rider

on 24 November 2021

ESA is offering the opportunity for payloads to ride on board the first return flight, and future flights, to low orbit of its reusable Space Rider. Applications should reach ESA by 30 November.

Space Rider’s planned debut is in 2023. Launched on a Vega-C rocket, it will provide a laboratory in space for an array of applications, orbit altitudes and inclinations. ESA has released a dedicated Announcement of Opportunity with no restriction on nationality for commercial or institutional customers.

Space Rider is an uncrewed robotic laboratory about the size of two minivans. After launch on Vega-C it will stay in low orbit for about two months.

Scientific experimentation in microgravity for pharmaceutics and biology are key examples of a Space Rider service.

Other examples include in-orbit demonstration and validation of technologies for applications such as robotics for exploration, instrumentation for Earth observation, surveillance for Earth disaster monitoring, and satellites inspection.

At the end of its mission, Space Rider will return to Earth with its payloads and land on a runway to be unloaded and refurbished for another flight.

This is also an opportunity for non-space sector companies to benefit from activities in the space arena.

Its reentry module hosts a multi-purpose cargo bay which offers 1200 litre volume for up to 600 kg of customer payloads.

Payloads are integrated in the reentry module multi-purpose cargo bay with standardised but customisable interfaces. This reentry module, coupled with the AVUM orbital module supplies power along with thermal, control, data-handling and telemetry capability during missions expected to last up to two months or longer if needed.

An interested organisation should register with ESA via the esa-star portal in order to demonstrate their interest.

More details here.

Image credit: ESA-Jacky Huart