Eu-BEST: interoperable ground resources to facilitate access to space in Europe
Horizon Europe, the European funding program dedicated to research and innovation, recently selected the European Bench for Engine and Stage Testing (Eu-BEST) project. Coordinated by Clemessy, Eu-BEST is supported by a consortium bringing together key space players in Europe. The common ambition of the seven players involved in this project is to develop a network of interoperable ground resources, common to several launchers, the objective of which is to facilitate access to space while reducing costs (CAPEX and OPEX) . The concept is based on the development and sale of generic services dedicated to the testing of engines and launcher stages.
The Eu-BEST project has officially started on November 1st 2023. It results from the construction of a consortium including EES-Clemessy, Spacedreams, OHB Digital Connect, Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), Pangea Aerospace, SUAS Aerospace and Aeroports de Catalunya. The main objective is to prove the technical and economic viability of the concept of interoperable, modular, and mobile test systems.
Through this project, the teams aim to revolutionize the ground segment, based on the sale of generic services. The expected performance is to be able to carry out 200 tests per year, at a target price of around 25,000 euros (propellants excluded), for engines with up to 500kN thrust.
The vision that the consortium shares is that of a paradigm where different specimens can be tested on the same infrastructure, at different stages of their life cycle (qualification, production, reuse). The very nature of the concept will make it possible to disseminate and export this model to other sites and therefore to create a real European network of ground resources dedicated to launchers. This vision has a name: Eu-BEST.
In this sense, “ Our consortium brings together several European NewSpace companies and established leaders in the space industry. The complementarity of our skills allows us to cover all the expertise necessary to ensure the success of this project, from both a technical and commercial point of view “, indicates Pierre Cecchetti, Bid Manager at Clemessy.
To do this, several interest groups will be represented: the ground resources industry, launcher manufacturers, launch bases and institutions. This with the aim of “ understanding the needs of end users in terms of interoperability, so as to be able to respond to them by offering them innovative technical solutions and new economic models< a i=11>,” he continues. We hope that Eu-BEST will be part of the European policy of strengthening its sovereignty linked to access to space.
As a proof of concept, it is planned that the ARCOS engine from Pangea Aerospace (300 kN) will be tested under fire on Eu-BEST infrastructures. This test, one of the key points of the project, will take place on the Aeroports de Catalunya site.Consortium members: EES-Clemessy (coordinator), Spacedreams, OHB Digital Connect GmbH, Institut Space Studies of Catalonia (Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya), SUAS Aerospace Limited, Pangea Aerospace and Catalunya Public Airports.