ESA has issued an Announcement of Opportunities calling for proposals for innovative technology developments. This is part of the Agency’s Leading-Edge Technology Programme targeted at SMEs.

Proposals should focus on the early-stage development and feasibility demonstration of new technologies which have a strong possibility of being infused into future ESA projects and space missions. Proposals for important improvements of existing technologies or processes will also be considered, provided the improvements are clearly substantiated and the corresponding space application identified.

Only SMEs of ESA Member States and Canada are allowed to bid as main contractors. However, universities and research institutes may participate as partners of SMEs, providing their share of the project focuses on their field of expertise, and represents a limited part of the overall work to be performed under the contract.

As usual, the Leading-Edge Technology Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises (LET-SME) Announcement of Opportunities (AO) calls for innovative solutions and technologies in reply to specific needs identified by ESA’s technical services. These industry-driven technologies will allow ESA to prepare for long-term technological capability and to define new space missions and applications.

The specific needs selected as priority topics for the 2006 LET-SME AO for which SMEs are invited to make proposals are the following:

1. new materials for high-speed rotor
2. plastic for space optical equipment
3. thermo-electrical cooler integration on a chip
4. dynamic post-programming burn-in of ACTEL RTAX-S FPGA
5. space wire remote terminal controller suite
6. improvement of thermal dissipation epoxy by nano-materials
7. new materials for MEMs
8. flexible sol-gel protection
9. new manufacturing routes outside autoclaves

The selected proposals will receive funding commensurate to the proposed activities up to a maximum of €200 000 each for a study duration of between 6 to 18 months.

More information on this AO, which closes on 22 September 2006, can be found on the EMITS site, the Agency’s online Invitation to Tender system, under ‘Open Invitation to Tender’ AO5151 ‘LET-SME Announcement of Opportunities 2006’.