The Exploration Company applied to explore the potential for collaboration on post-ISS (post-International Space Station decommissioning) commercial Low Earth Orbit services and related capabilities.

After evaluation of the company’s proposal and in the context of the ESA Terrae Novae 2030+strategy roadmap for space exploration which sets the following goal for Low Earth Orbit:

Ensure continuity in LEO by ensuring a continued presence on the ISS until its decommissioning and preparing for post-ISS service-based commercial LEO infrastructures as a primary destination for scientific research and deep space exploration preparation

The project has been selected to enter into a Pilot Phase – Assessment of Private Reusable LEO Capsule for Europe from 2026+.

Nyx Earth - a private reusable LEO Capsule for Europe from 2026

— The Exploration Company GmbH (Germany) & The Exploration Company SASU (France)

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Nyx Exploration Company

The vehicle is envisaged to orbit for up to 6 months before returning to Earth and be reused. The planned capability enables LEO cargo delivery as well as services like high-quality microgravity research and technology demonstrations.

The Nyx capsule demo “Mission Possible” is planned to be launched in 2024.

What is the Pilot Phase?

The Pilot Phase will be jointly conducted by ESA and the Exploration Company. It aims at assessing the following elements of the Private Reusable LEO Capsule:

  • Technical Maturity
  • Business Maturity
  • Utilisation Opportunities
  • Socio-economic Impact

The successful completion of the Pilot Phase will inform options for ESA follow-on activities.