Press Release

Calling new partners for exploring the Moon and Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
March 13, 2015
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Calling new partners for exploring the Moon and Mars

As part of its new strategy for space exploration, ESA is looking for commercial partners to share the adventure and benefits of leaving Earth.

ESA’s next steps in its plan to explore the Solar System include using Earth orbit as a platform for science and technology, sending robots to bring back samples from the Moon and Mars, and eventually human expeditions to explore these planetary bodies.

Private-sector partners are welcome to join ESA in its space exploration strategy. Join us to explore beyond Earth’s horizon by sharing knowledge, capabilities, risks and benefits.

The Agency is now issuing a Call for Ideas to assess how companies could join forces with ESA in novel partnerships.

Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations, stresses the importance of this opportunity: “ESA’s perspective on private-sector organisations in space exploration is evolving and this Call welcomes partnerships beyond the space industry. Furthermore, we welcome initiatives from outside Europe as long as they support the ESA strategic plan and global cooperation goals for space exploration.”

A wealth of opportunities

ESA has a vast network of means and facilities, from hypergravity centrifuges to future robots on Mars, as well as access to the most isolated places on Earth and beyond, such as the International Space Station and Antarctic bases. ESA can make its platforms, facilities and knowledge available to work on the most promising ideas for partnerships received in this call.

Bernhard Hufenbach, Head of ESA’s Strategic Planning Office, explains: “The scope of the Call is very broad: anybody with a sound business plan that has synergy with what ESA does to explore space is welcome to share their ideas.”

Without wanting to influence the submission, examples of partnership ideas could be developing software to control robots in space and on Earth, researching drilling techniques on Earth and the Moon, manufacturing lightweight but low-maintenance health and safety equipment for astronauts and emergency workers, demonstrating technology in space, and even creating documentaries or video games promoting European space exploration.

Submit your partnership idea


Do you feel inspired and have a commercial idea that fits these general examples or even more exciting proposals? Submit your letter of interest by 3 April to get the ball rolling. The full details of this call for ideas can be found here.

SpaceRef staff editor.