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Author: Keith Miller
Last Modified: 11-02-2013
Public Document

European Component Initiative

For more than a decade ESA, National Space Agencies, Eurospace and European components manufacturers have observed a rapidly decreasing European Market share for EEE space components, suitable for high reliability and long-term mission applications. They also identified the high risk of European space industry becoming increasingly dependent on non-European sources for space components. This would certainly, in the longer term, lead to a dependence on components under US export restrictions (such as ITAR or End User certificate) and therefore increase the risk of using alternative parts not intended, and not always suitable, for space applications.

These potential problems were also reported in a Eurospace position paper entitled “Strategic Needs In Sustainable Electronic Components and Techniques for the European Space Industry” in which a series of satellites, which had encountered export restrictions was listed.

To minimise these risks and propose a solution to these problems ESA, supported by several National Space Agencies, formulated an EEE Parts European Action Plan. This action plan is today put in place as the European Component Initiative (ECI).

The European Component Initiative was presented to the ESA Council in June 2004, with the paper ESA/C(2004)55 as a combined effort of the Agency supported and complemented by further national initiatives of major Member States notably France and Germany. The first Phase of the ECI programme has been funded by ESA, CNES and DLR. Many of the essential components identified in the ECI Phase 1 have now been successfully developed and are listed in the ESCC European Preferred Parts List (EPPL).

To further increase the European non-dependence in the space component market additional components have been identified by equipment suppliers and manufacturers throughout Europe in the context of ESCC and cross checked with project and programmes teams. France and Germany through their national space agencies have extended their ECI programme on a yearly basis to cover some of these devices.

Click here for more information on ECI.

    Phase 1 of ECI is virtually complete with nearly all the components now listed in the EPPL or QPL.  The following list covers  the devices that have been completed  under ECI phase 1

 • 2006 Thin film fuses (12 devices 0.14 -3.5A) (QPL) Schurter (CH)

• 2006 Blue enhanced Photovoltaic Sensor  (QPL) AME (N)
 2008 Double Balance Mixer (0.7-3.7Ghz) (EPPL) OMMIC(F)
 2008 Double Balance Mixer (1.0- 4.5Ghz) (EPPL) OMMIC(F)
 2008 Double Balance Mixer (3-10 Ghz) (EPPL) OMMIC(F)
 2008 Cascadable Amp (5-250Mhz) (EPPL) Cobham (F)
 2008 Hybrid Double Balance Mixer (0.5-500Mhz) (EPPL) Cobham (F)
 2008 Hybrid Double Balance Mixer (10-1500Mhz) (EPPL) Cobham (F)
 2009 PLL 33632 (3.5 Ghz Fractional N Freq Synthesizer)  (QPL) Peregrine (F)
 2009 Hybrid PWM  (EPPL) ETCA (B)
 2009 European Schottky Diode (BES Process) (EPPL) UMS (F)
 2009 1553B Data Bus Products (Remote Terminal & Transceiver ASICs) EADS (F)
 2009 Image Reject Mixer (750-2200 Mhz) Cobham (F)
 2009 LEON 2 Microprocessor (AT697F) ATMEL(F)
 2009 T relay (TO5) (QPL) REL (F)
 2010 TL relays (TO5) (QPL) REL (F)
 2010 Power MOSFET (100 N-ch, 100V P-Ch) (QPL) STM (I)

ECI phase 2 : Starting in 2006, the European space components industry and equipment manufacturers through their membership of the ESCC Components Technology Board (CTB) and its specialist working groups had compiled a list of candidate part types for the ECI Phase 2 for the coming years. This list at that time  identified 54 new and replacement part types. The critical success criterion for a EEE-components non-dependence activity is to ensure that the deliverables are competitive in terms of pricing, performance and timing. Consequently, an active dialogue between ESA, component and equipment manufacturers and CPPAs has been established in order to ensure maximum global market penetration for the ECI developed parts. In addition a specific working group under the CTB has carefully considered each of the part types on the list against a set of measurable criteria in order to provide an overall priority for each device. The criteria took into account the market potential, ITAR or other restrictions, technology maturity, predicted life for the product line and the development investment against the potential returns. The highest priority items were  identified are activity developments were strated in 2009 . Some have already been completed most notably the range of PLLs which provide a European  alternative to the US ITAR listed parts .

The complete list of ECI phase 2 is as follows ( including next to the ECI  activity description the part they will replace )


Digital Attenuator  AT106 / AT107 Microwave
MMIC Digital phase shifter  (6-18GHz) PHS 2583 / WDA 2586 Microwave
  TGA4022  Microwave
MMIC Wide Band LNA TGA4830  Microwave
MMIC "K" Band Power Amp - (17-24Ghz) HMC 498 Microwave
Termination Insensitive Mixer (EPPL listed ) MD169 Complete
Triple balance Mixer (Descrete) TB0218F04M / MY50  Microwave
QPL Evaluation of PLL 9763(2) (QPL listed ) PE9763 Complete
Evaluation of PLL 33362  and 33382 (EPPL listed) PE9702/ PE 9704 Complete
Parallel fuse 5 to 15A  P600L Passive
Optocoupler 4N49 Photonics
ESCC evaluation of RUAG Contactless position Sensor (CAPS)   Microwave
Single point optical connectors AVIM Photonics
Europeanization Microwave Hybrid Amplifiers (US technology)  Cougar  Microwave
low ERS Tantalum capacitors   New Passives
Qualification of ATMEL 280K FPGA ACTEL RTSX Silicon
IOD PROBA V GaN IOD proof of concept Microwave
Radiation characterization of commercial parts  Various Radiation 
Commercial/ NSA  EEE parts assessment Various Hybrids


ECI phase 3: Since only a limited amount of activities could be started under ECI phase 2 and  since it was important  to review  the  needs of the business, in  early 2010 a  complete review of the  future needs was carried out, again in the context of the ESCC. Thgis resulted in a new set of priority items, but more importantly the need to start addressing the need for key straegic technologies for the future , ECI 3 is therefore a  mix of enabling technologies and  conventional replacement parts .

In May 2011  Funding was approved  and the activities listed below are currently  to be sent out  for tender in 2011. The target is to complete all the activities no later than the start of 2013 .


Activity title
Column attach process setup and evaluation 
Development and Qualification of Flip Chip for digital advanced components (65nm)
Lead free finish of PCBs 
Evaluation of the manufacture of mixed RF boards
Evaluation of European Ultra Low Noise Phase Locked-Loop (PLL) Components 
Development and Space Validation of a European MMIC Wide Band Amplifier
Development and Space Validation of a European MMIC Voltage Control Oscillator (VCO)
ESCC Qualification of high voltage film capacitors, PET
ESCC Evaluation and Qualification of Crystal oscillator
ESCC Evaluation and Qualification of new cable for continuous high temperature 
Development and ESCC approval of an European source of 8-channel silicon phototransistors for optical encoders
Industrialisation and ESCC evaluation of a Video Analog Signal Processor (VASP)
FPGA Tool Development 
ESCC Qualification of 450Kgate FPGA
Technical support of ESA IP Cores 
Development and ESCC Evaluation of a 32Mbit EEPROM 
European LVDS driver development and ESCC Evaluation and Qualification
Assessment and characterization of Mixed Signal Technology
Advanced qualification (Phase 3 ) activities for DSM ASIC technology & high speed serial link for space applications
ESCC Evaluation and Qualification of a High-Speed Low Power European DAC.
ESCC Evaluation and Qualification of a High-Speed ADC.
Radiation characterization of European commercial EEE components for space applications

In summary  

ECI Phase 1 (2004-2010)
–Reduce the dependence on the supply of EEE components from sources subject to export restrictions
–Targeting “Pin to Pin” compatible replacements for US ITAR listed devices.
Key developments: Power Mosfets, Fuses, Relays , MMICs, Mixers, PLL, 1553.
ECI Phase 2 (2009-2011)
–Competitive alternatives (cost and time to market) in Europe.
Key developments: MMICs, PLL(s), Capacitors, Fuses, Optical connectors. FPGA(s).
ECI Phase 3 (2011-2013)
–Access to strategic components and technologies
Key developments: DSM, large FPGA, High Pin Count assembly Technologies.


For further enquiries, please contact the ECI Project Office

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