ESA is looking for the European companies that can establish Competitive Commercial Cargo Transportation Services to go to the International Space Station, as well as future commercial low Earth orbit destinations.

The Call for Commercial Cargo Transportation is now open. The initiative provides a partnership/support scheme, whereby private companies receive support from ESA for the development of commercial cargo transportation services to human outposts in low Earth orbit.

The final goal of the Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative is to execute a demonstration mission delivering a minimum of 2 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, as well as returning a minimum of 1 tonne back to Earth before the end of 2028. If successful, ESA may follow up the initiative with actual service contracts.

Send your outline proposal to the Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration before 29 June 2023 at 23:59 CEST


Cargo Transportation Initiative
Phase 1.1

Advance the cargo delivery services

Call for Proposals open to Tenderers residing in any of the Participating States of the European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P)

  • Complete preliminary design
  • Secure third-party funding
Phase 1.2

Further develop the cargo delivery services

The Phase 1.2 will be open to companies that have previously successfully completed the Phase 1.1

  • De-risk the most critical areas
  • Secure third-party funding
Phase 2

Demonstrate cargo delivery services

Invitation to Tender (ITT) in Open Competition. This phase will be open to all companies, not just those that participated in Phase 1.

  • Final steps leading to the Demonstration Flight

For Phase 1.1, ESA will select up to 2 companies.

ESA has allocated a total of €2 million for the execution of the Phase 1.1. The financial volumes associated with subsequent phases (i.e. Phase 1-2 and 2) will be defined at a later stage, taking into account the information acquired during Phase 1-1.

What does ESA offer?

Co-funding without the acquisition of equity

Access to ESA technical expertise

Links to other relevant projects

Networking with potential investors

Can you develop a Commercial Cargo Transportation Service?


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