The Boosters for European Space Transportation (BEST!) initiative is being managed by ESA’s Space Transportation Directorate under its Future Launcher Preparatory Programme (FLPP). According to the initiative’s call, the aim of BEST! is to allow the development of new launcher architectures or the improvement of existing launch systems. That second element is an interesting addition as it goes on to state that concept studies should focus on a liquid reusable booster or a reusable first stage.
Initial proposal submissions for BEST! will close at the end of February. In March, feedback will be given, and a pitch day will be hosted to close out the first stage of the programme’s initial phase. In late March, an invitation to tender will be published, which will require applicants to submit full proposals. Submissions for this second stage will close in early May, with successful bidders being notified in late May. The studies conducted from that point will be utilized to bring the programme to a vote for funding at the ESA ministerial level council meeting in late 2025.
Glad to see that Europe is making moves to pursue reusability. Hope this initiative results in some new launch vehicles, and that Europe won’t end up too far behind the US and China.