Online workshop “From Science to Business – How to Contribute to and Profit from Space Rider Payloads”

Portugal Space is organising an online workshop aiming to promote the utilization of the future ESA orbital vehicle, Space Rider, amongst the Portuguese Industrial and Scientific ecosystem.

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The Portuguese Space Agency is organising the workshop “From Science to Business – How to Contribute to and Profit from Space Rider Payloads”, aiming to attract companies and scientific organizations to take advantage of the future ESA orbital vehicleThe event will take place on February 3rd, at 10h30 WETand attendance is free, but registration is mandatory. 

On November 2020, Portugal Space brought together an impressive set of internationally renowned experts to discuss the potential of space microgravity in the fields of pharmaceutical and medical Research and Development. The speakers came from Virgin Galactic, MIT Portugal, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Space Pharma, among others. Besides creating awareness on the research and development capabilities of Space, the Portuguese Space Agency also highlighted the importance of Space Rider, the future ESA orbital reusable vehicle, planned to be launched in 2023 and to be used for a variety of applications, including scientific experiments in microgravity, given the outstandingly low gravity levels that it will provide. 

Now it is time to explore how Portuguese entities can contribute and take advantage of Space Riders payloads, through the online workshop “From Science to Business – How to Contribute to and Profit from Space Rider Payloads. This event takes place at a time when ESA is preparing to intensify contacts with potential customers, sharing technical details of the accommodation for payloads on the maiden flight of Space Rider.  

Portugal is one of the ten Member-States that subscribed to the Space Rider programme during Space19+, the ESA ministerial council that has taken place in November 2019. ESA has defined Santa Maria island, in the Azores, as the potential landing site, also including post-landing processing facilities of the reusable vehicle, that will provide non-space companies with a new alternative into the space arena. 

“For Portuguese companies, Space Rider will be an excellent solution to have an easier and affordable access to space”, says Joan Alabart, Industrial Relations and Projects Officer at Portugal Space, stressing that the Portuguese Space Agency wants to “encourage national entities, either industrial or research organisations, to take part in the in the scientific and technological exploitation of Space Rider payload opportunities” 

Together with experts from the European Space Agency, that will be addressing the technical and operational aspects of the payloads on Space Rider, and the status of the project and the payload selection process, the Portuguese Space Agency will engage national entities not only for the payload opportunities but also on the possibility of a deeper involvement on the design of a Space Rider lab. “Ideally this would imply that a national entity could set the standards for future commercial experiments that would be sold and used by third parties onboard the vehicle”, states Manuel Wilhelm, Industrial Relations and Projects Officer at Portugal Spacehighlighting the possibility of having a national entity “become a sub-aggregator on future flights”. 

The Portuguese Space Agency is committed to the Space Rider project not only as an opportunity for industry and the scientific community to take a leading position but also because ESA has chosen the Azores as one of the future locations for Space Rider operations. “Considering the national commitment to this project, it would be extraordinary if we could have a Portuguese payload on the maiden flight of Space Rider, but especially if we could guarantee a sustainable participation of national entities in future payloads/flights”, states Manuel Wilhelm. 

ESA will be represented by Fabio Caramelli, VEGA Production and Future Missions Project Manager, who will give details on the payload selection process, namely boundary conditions, the application method, pricing policy/costs and timeline. The workshop will also address questions regarding fields of applications and the status of the project. 

Scientific experimentation in microgravity for pharmaceutics and biology are key examples of Space Rider services, but the vehicle can potentially be used for in-orbit demonstration and validation of a variety of technologies for several applications as well, such as robotics for exploration, instrumentation for Earth observation, surveillance for Earth disaster monitoring, and satellite inspection. 

With a dimension similar to that of two minivans, Space Rider has a re-entry module that offers a 1200 litre volume for up to 800 kg of customer payloads seated on a high-technology platform that supplies power along with thermal, control, data-handling and telemetry capability. The re-entry module is powered in orbit by the AVUM+ engine based on Vega-C’s upper stage enhanced with a Service-Life Extension kit serving as service module during missions of at least two months. 

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Portugal Space
13 of January, 2021