The ERFTM aims to reduce the dependence on two key American technologies currently used to build all TWTs for European satellites. TWT materials are among the priority technologies identified for H2020 for 2015 (U7 in the EC-ESA-EDA document, Critical Space Technologies for European Strategic Non-Dependence). This project will allow partners and their customers to avoid dependency from non-European sources, and to avoid cases of world-wide unique sources that could become subject to export restrictions.
Reaching non-dependence in certain technologies
Non-dependence will be ensured via two complementary approaches. The critical technologies addressed in this project each currently are provided by only one supplier worldwide (found in the USA). In the USA, ITAR is an export-restriction that could likely be applied to these critical technologies. On the other hand, the European sources developed in ERFTM cannot be subject to export-restrictions, since no such restrictions are in place in Europe. Therefore, this project will result in European non-dependence and free access to critical technologies.
In parallel, a commercial evaluation of each of the two critical technologies will be carried out to ensure the solidity and commercial interest of these technologies for the European consortium partners that will commercialize them. This will prevent the risk that the European source becomes unavailable for market reasons, leaving the European space industry dependent again on American sources in the future.
Provide advanced critical technologies that are of common interest to different space application domains (e.g. telecom, Earth-observation, science, etc.), or even with applicability to terrestrial domains.
ERFTM will impact space TWT related to different space application domains, such as data transmission and HDTV broadcasting, high-speed internet access, earth observation to measure key environmental parameters (weather, climate, volcanic plume observations, preventing natural disasters, etc.), satellite Radio Broadcasting, transmission of data collected during deep space exploration and last but not least the deployment of the Galileo positioning and navigation system.
In addition, ERFTM will impact ground TWT related to different terrestrial application domains, such as commercial multimedia data links, outdoor wireless networks with high data rate, and uplinks for civilian applications.
Reinforce the “Made in Europe”
The creation of a European option for critical components of space technologies will also open new geographic markets to our industries, notably in Asia. Indeed, export regulations limits the export of certain technologies made in the USA to “sensitive countries,” notably China, a large and growing market for European companies. Accessing these new markets and providing components unhindered by security of supply issues will increase the overall competitiveness of the European Space and telecommunications sectors.