BELSPO, through the European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P) from the European Space Agency (ESA), offers Belgian entities the opportunity to fly ‘Belgian National Payloads’ to the International Space Station in support to their research and technology development activities.
All research and technology demonstration proposals that clearly benefit from the ISS environment (i.e. microgravity, space radiation…) and stemming from a Belgian entity or a consortium with a Belgian Prime will be considered. Direct product placement and marketing shall not be accepted. Sponsorship from a company to a research and/or technology demonstration activity is however allowed.
The implementation of a National Payload depends on many factors (complexity and Technology Readiness Level of the flight hardware, schedule of the launch to the ISS, availability of the payload host at the ISS…). Therefore, one of the first steps to be taken after the selection of a National Payload project will be to assess, on a case-by-case basis, the most efficient option to fly the payload to the ISS while safeguarding to the maximum extent possible its scientific and technical requirements.
Upon acceptance of the proposal, BELSPO will cover the upload of the hardware to the ISS as well as the astronaut crew time via the ESA Exploration Programme. Operations of the payload can be covered via ESA or via other options proposed by the consortium. The proposing consortium shall find other funding sources for the development, preparation of the safety data packages, and qualification of the flight hardware as well as the data exploitation. The consortium shall also deliver all necessary documentation and inputs to flight operations and crew training for safety certification by ESA.