Space Technology and Applications Development


Cutting edge space technology and applications for daily life based on satellites are two cornerstones of ESA’s activities, with a variety of programmes working towards these goals.

In line with its space policy, Switzerland pursues a niche strategy when it comes to technological and applications development. It seeks to achieve - or defend and consolidate - a leading international position in specific sectors. From this perspective, Switzerland has established five technological priorities:

  • "Intelligent" and lightweight high-precision mechanisms and structures based on micro and nanotechnologies and built from innovative materials;
  • Atomic clocks;
  • Electro-optical transmission systems (laser, fibre optics) to transfer data and perform measurements;
  • Computerised, electronic, mechanical and miniaturised optical equipment for high-precision instruments used mainly for scientific and Earth observation missions;
  • Development of new technologies for applications required by users in the fields of Earth observation, satellite navigation and telecommunications.

The following pages elaborate more on the ESA programmes that support the development of new technologies and applications. They give an overview and help industrial and academic partners identify opportunities for participation and the associated rules and guidelines.

Specifc information

Space Technology Development

The main goal of the ESA technology programmes is to support technology development up to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5/6.

Space Applications Development

The ARTES Applications programmes are dedicated to funding and promoting the development of space-based applications, services and solutions for the needs of European citizens and society at large.

Submitting a Proposal to the Swiss Space Office

Specific programmes of the European Space Agency ESA (e.g. ARTES and GSTP) require the explicit support of the national ESA Delegation ("Letter of Support"). This section explains the associated guidelines and rules to obtain such a letter.

Technology transfer and ESA BIC Switzerland

It is not rare for companies or research institutes to apply competencies developed in thespace sector to other fields. Referred to as "spin-off" or "technology transfer" operations, they often lead to the creation ofnew companies. The Swiss Business Incubation Center, named ESA BIC Switzerland is a logical extension of this tradition. Its key elements and related information about the initiative are described here.

Doing Business with ESA

ESA activities and industrial procurements are executed under a dedicated set of rules and guidelines and published viaESA’s Electronic Mail Tender Information System (EMITS). General information on doing Business with ESA can be found here, and is recommended reading if you want to participate in any of the aforementioned programmes and its activities.


SERI, Aurélie Pezous
+41 58 46 53199