Small satellites launcher targets independent access to space for Europe
The Hague, 31 May 2016 – The ‘Small Innovative Launcher for Europe’ (SMILE), a European Union Horizon 2020 project, 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. Airborne’s contribution to the project is structural design of the load-bearing structures, automated manufacturing of composite structures and inter-stage production prototype. The objectives of the SMILE project are to design a concept for an innovative, cost-effective European launcher for small satellites up to 50 kg and a Europe-based launch facility at Andøya, Norway. SMILE targets both the market for education and in-orbit demonstration, and commercial, scientific and governmental missions. It is Europe’s ambition to gain independent access to space for small satellites.
Expanding market for small satellites
The market for small satellites is expanding. Manufacturers of small satellites nowadays have to piggyback on 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. The new launcher will provide a launch capability for both the market for education and in-orbit demonstration, and 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 European Union contribution to the project amounts 4 million EURO for three years.
The SMILE consortium consists of NLR-Netherlands Aerospace Centre, German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Nammo Raufoss AS from Norway, Terma from Denmark, Andøya 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
Solutions In Space from The Netherlands, 3D Systems from Belgium, PLD Space from Spain, Tecnalia from Spain, BoesAdvies from The Netherlands 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 existing sounding rocket launch site at Andøya Space Center in Norway
- Increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of critical technologies
- Develop prototypes of components (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.