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LET-SME (Leading Edge Technologies for SMEs)


The main aim of the LET-SME programme is to fund projects which will spin-in technologies for space. In this way, SMEs can demonstrate the potential application of their technologies to space programmes.

As its name implies, the programme features a pro-active approach to promote and make the best possible use of leading-edge technologies which are available from, or under development by, SMEs. Projects which are funded are those targetting fields where ESA strives for innovation, for new ideas, and novel concepts.


Dedicated Announcements of Opportunities (AOs) are published on selected technology areas. The topics in LET-SME AOs correspond to needs which are identified in co-operation with ESA's technology programme representatives.

Eligible costs, Funding and Duration

  • Eligible costs correspond to technical adaptation and customisation of technology, feasibility demonstration by analysis/testing/breadboarding, functional validation, etc.
  • Level of funding depends on the nature of the activity, with a present ceiling of 200 000 euros.
  • Duration is generally from 6 to 18 months.

Evaluation of Proposals

After evaluation by a panel of experts, the selected proposals are awarded a contract. Project execution is monitored by ESA technical officers from operational ESA establishments, and who are experts in the relevant technology areas.

ARCoP (Academic Research in Co-operation)

A precursor to the LET-SME programme, ARCoP was dedicated to funding the spin-in of technologies to space applications, Here, however, projects were conducted with SMEs held to subcontract items of R&D to research centres. ARCoP is now terminated, although co-operation with research institutions continues to be encouraged within LET-SME.
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