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DISCOVERER – DISruptive teChnOlogies for VERy low Earth oRbit platforms

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "DISCOVERER" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: OXFORD ROAD
postcode: M13 9PL

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 5˙726˙750 €
 EC max contribution 5˙726˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.2.1. (FET Open)
 Code Call H2020-FETOPEN-1-2016-2017
 Funding Scheme RIA
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-01-01   to  2021-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER UK (MANCHESTER) coordinator 2˙969˙813.00
2    GOMSPACE APS DK (AALBORG) participant 620˙000.00
3    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) participant 534˙000.00
4    UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART DE (STUTTGART) participant 425˙000.00
6    Concentris Research Management GmbH DE (Fürstenfeldbruck) participant 300˙000.00
8    EUROCONSULT SA FR (PARIS) participant 215˙000.00
9    THE TECH TOYBOX, INC. US (GAINESVILLE) participant 90˙936.00


 Project objective

We envision a radical redesign of Earth observation platforms for sustained operation at significantly lower altitudes than the current state of the art, using a combination of new aerodynamic materials, aerodynamic control and air-breathing electric propulsion for drag-compensation, for a variety of observation methods with the aim of creating a new platform paradigm. This vision requires foundational research in spacecraft aerodynamic characterization, in material aerodynamics and atomic oxygen resistance, in electric propulsion, and control methods. These activities are by their nature multidisciplinary covering atmospheric science, surface chemistry and material characterization, control engineering, spacecraft design, payload engineering, etc.


List of deliverables.
VLEO EO Satellite Aerodynamic Control Techniques and Mechanisms Report Documents, reports 2020-02-07 15:49:03
Literature review of the benefits and applications of VLEO for EO Documents, reports 2020-02-07 15:49:03
Interim report on training activities to prepare next generation of scientists Documents, reports 2020-02-07 15:49:03
Release of the project website and communication package (logo, flyer, social media announcement) Websites, patent fillings, videos etc. 2020-01-27 12:38:58
VLEO Aerodynamics Requirements Document Documents, reports 2020-01-27 12:38:58
Literature Review of ABEP systems Documents, reports 2020-01-27 12:38:58

Take a look to the deliverables list in detail:  detailed list of DISCOVERER deliverables.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Becedas, Jonathan; González, Gerardo ; Domínguez, Rosa María; Gonzalez, David; Roberts, Peter; Crisp, Nicholas; Smith, Katharine; Edmondson, Steve; Haigh, Sarah; Abrao Oiko, Vitor Toshiyuki; Lyons, Rachel; Worrall, Stephen; Livadiotti, Sabrina; Ghizoni, Leonardo ; Jungnell, Victor ; Bay, Kristian ; Morsbøl, Jonas ; Herdrich, Georg H.; Romano, Francesco ; Binder, Tilman; Boxberger, Adam ; Fasou
Aerodynamic technologies for Earth Observation missions in VLEO
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
16th Reinventing Space Conference 31 Oct - 1 Nov 2018 2020-01-27
2019 D. González; J. Becedas
Modelling and Simulation of Very Low Earth Orbits;
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
8th European Conference for Aeronautics and Space Sciences 1 - 4 July 2019 2020-01-27
2019 Rodriguez-Donaire, Silvia; Sureda, Miquel; Nieto, Miriam; Garcia-Almiñana, Daniel; Muñoz, Candia; Perez, Jose S.; Roberts, Peter; Becedas, Jonathan; Crisp, Nicholas; Abrao Oiko, Vitor Toshiyuki; Edmondson, Steve; Worrall, Stephen; Haigh, Sarah; Smith, Katharine; Lyons, Rachel; Livadiotti, Sabrina; Huyton, Claire; Sinpetru, Luciana; Kataria, Dhiren ; Domínguez, Rosa M.; González, David; Herdric
Are optical imaging small satellites in the EO market a disruptive technology?
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Spanish Small Satellites International Forum 7 - 8 March 2019 2020-01-27
2018 G. Herdrich, F. Romano et al.
Analysis of electrodeless plasma source enhancement by an externally applied magnetic field for an inductive plasma thruster (IPT)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Russian-German Conference on Electric Propulsion 21 - 26 Oct 2018 2020-01-27
2018 G. Herdrich, C.Traub
A Review and Gap Analysis of Exploiting Aerodynamic Forces as a Means to Control Satellite Formation Flight;
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress 2018 4 - 6 Sept 2018 2020-01-27
2018 G. Herdrich, F. Romano
Effects of applied magnetic field on IPG6-S, test-bed for an ABEP-based inductive plasma thruster (IPT)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Space Propulsion 2018 SP2018 14 - 18 May 2018 2020-01-27
2018 N. Crisp
SOAR -- A DISCOVERER Project Satellite Mission for Orbital Aerodynamics Research;
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
69th International Astronautical Congress 1 - 5 Oct 2018 2020-01-27
2019 Abrao Oiko, Vitor Toshiyuki; Roberts, Peter; Edmondson, Steve; Worrall, Stephen; Haigh, Sarah; Smith, Katharine; Crisp, Nicholas; Lyons, Rachel; Livadiotti, Sabrina; Huyton, Claire; Sinpetru, Luciana; et al.
Design and development of a hyperthermal atomic oxygen wind tunnel facility;
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
14th International Symposium on Materials in the Space Environment and 12th International Conference on Protection of Materials from Space Environment 1 - 5 Oct 2018 2020-01-27
2018 G. Herdrich, F. Romano
Advances on the inductive plasma thruster design for an Atmosphere-Breathing EP System;
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
69th International Astronautical Congress 1 - 5 Oct 2018 2020-01-27
2019 G. Herdrich, F. Romano et al.
Inductive Plasma Thruster (IPT) for an Atmosphere-Breathing Electric Propulsion System: design and set in operation
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Internation Electric Propulsion Conference IEPC 15 - 20 Sept 2019 2020-01-27
2019 C. Traub, F. Romano, T. Binder, A. Boxberger, G. H. Herdrich, S. Fasoulas, P. C. E. Roberts, K. Smith, S. Edmondson, S. Haigh, N. H. Crisp, V. T. A. Oiko, R. Lyons, S. D. Worrall, S. Livadiotti, J. Becedas, G. González, R. M. Dominguez, D. González, L. Ghizoni, V. Jungnell, K. Bay, J. Morsbøl, D. Garcia-Almiñana, S. Rodriguez-Donaire, M. Sureda, D. Kataria, R. Outlaw, R. Villain, J. S. Perez,
On the exploitation of differential aerodynamic lift and drag as a means to control satellite formation flight
published pages: , ISSN: 1868-2502, DOI: 10.1007/s12567-019-00254-y
CEAS Space Journal 2020-01-27
2018 F. Romano, B. Massuti-Ballester, T. Binder, G. Herdrich, S. Fasoulas, T. Schönherr
System analysis and test-bed for an atmosphere-breathing electric propulsion system using an inductive plasma thruster
published pages: 114-126, ISSN: 0094-5765, DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.03.031
Acta Astronautica 147 2020-01-27

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