In orbit demonstration

In-orbit experiments are important for the development and demonstration of technology, techniques, research and operational techniques and associated technologies

For some technologies and techniques and some new applications, it is deemed necessary to complete the development cycle going up to in-orbit demonstration (TRL 9). Also new practices, techniques and tools for design, development, verification and mission operations need to be exercised in small, yet representative, missions. 

To reach this goal, since 2000 ESA has begun small sat missions (IOD missions) and since 2013 CubeSat missions. They are funded under the In-Orbit Demonstration part (Fly Element) of the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP).

For testing, use of equipment and other enquiries for this TEC location, please refer to the assigned contacts:

Frederic Teston

Head of the Systems Department

Stefano Santandrea

Small Satellite Platform Unit

Roger Walker

Cubesat System Unit


In Orbit Demonstration missions are funded under GSTP (the FLY element), an optional programme open to all ESA MS.

Fly Element Page

Proba-V’s plus one

This satellite mockup, seen during antenna testing, shows the shape of ESA’s new Proba-V Companion CubeSat, which is due for launch at the end of this year.
The mission is a 12-unit ‘CubeSat’ – a small, low-cost satellite built up from standardised 10-cm boxes. It will fly a cut-down version of the vegetation-monitoring instrument aboard the Earth-observing Proba-V to perform experimental combined observations with its predecessor. A pair of antennas for the CubeSat, mounted in this ‘structural and thermal model’ underwent testing at ESA’s Compact Antenna Test Range at the ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.