In-orbit demonstration

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

The ideal place to test new space technologies is actually in space. 

For some technologies and techniques and some new applications, it is deemed necessary to complete the development cycle going up to in-orbit demonstration (corresponding to the topmost Technology Readiness Level 9). Also new practices, techniques and tools for design, development, verification and mission operations need to be exercised in small, yet representative, missions to orbit. To reach this goal, ESA has been developing small satellite In-Orbit Demonstration missions since the turn of the century, supplemented byCubeSat missions since 2013. These are funded under the In-Orbit Demonstration part (Fly Element) or specific component of the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP). 

For any enquiries please refer to:

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 Member States.

Fly Element Page

Latest closed studies

Vessel Sat

#In-orbit demonstration

Cube Sats for in-orbit demonstration

#In-orbit demonstration

Proba – V’s plus one

#In-orbit demonstration

PROBA – 2 (Project for On-Board Autonomy-2)

#In-orbit demonstration