19, November 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-11085
Open Date: 17/11/2021 16:40 CEST
Closing Date: 06/01/2022 13:00 CEST

Systematically acquiring and analysing statistical data on the small particle population in space is essential to establish, improve and validate the space debris environment models, such as ESA’s MASTER. These models are the baseline for developing and selecting appropriate space debris mitigation measures for missions, and for developing related guidelines and standards, and as such have a significant impact on mission design and operations. The currently available data is scarce and is becoming outdated in view of the dynamical evolution of the human-made space object environment.Especially critical is the lack of data for objects in the millimetre to lower centimetre range, which are beyond the capabilities of ground based observations, and for which the current retrieved surfaces from orbit are too small to have a statistically significant estimate of impacts in this size regime. To tackle this, a large area should be deployed to get a statistically sufficient number of impacts on various orbits. The acquired data, such as diameter and flux density (number of particles per area), are to be used to validate and improve space environment models in previously inaccessible orbital regimes and for sizes of particles for which only few observations are currently available.The objective of this activity is to study at Pre-Phase A a small satellite mission to measure statistically the near-Earth sub-millimetre to lower centimetre space debris populations in order to validate and improve space environment models. This shall be done using an optical impact detection payload and inspection on several deployed large-area thin foil surfaces. It should identify the needs for this mission, study the commercial aspects as a data providing service, propose possible system concepts and analyse the feasibility and technology readiness. In addition, it should identify possible gaps and mitigation actions, estimate the costs and propose a related schedule for implementation. An MBSE approach shall be applied to the design work. The assessment results of this Pre-Phase A activity need to at least address the feasibility of a large surface and optical inspection combintion designed to reconstruct impact frequency and directions, on-board data (pre-) processing of the images, the potential for instrumentation beyond optical inspection, and minimum needs to obtain statistically relevant environment samples with quantified uncertainties leading to a consolidated mission design concept.The procurement will be open competition to all industrial entities, ensuring an open competitive approach preparing further steps. Parallel contracts are foreseen in case of competitive complementary proposals. Furthermore, the participation of SME’s will be encouraged.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Miguel Yagues Palazon
Initiating Service: TEC-SF
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0600-05 – Preparation Element
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 8-A-I-Specification Methods and Tools / 11-A-I-Ground-based Radar Measurements of Debris and Meteoroids
Products Keywords: 2-P-Other

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