Working Group on "EXPLORNOVA - Space science missions: Innovation History & Knowledge Management"

Leader: Vincent Minier, CEA Irfu, France


Roger-Maurice Bonnet
Vincent Bontems
Roy Booth
Thijs de Graauw
Olivier Grasset
Matt Griffin
Frank Helmich
Tom Phillips
Göran Pilbratt
Stéphane Tirard
Sergio Volonté

Purpose and Scientific Questions:

EXPLORNOVA is a research project that aims to capture and analyse the process of innovation in space technologies based on the history, the design and the realisation of “key space science instruments”. In this study, the Working Group intends to address the following issues:

-­ How do new technologies emerge and diffuse in space science?

-­ How do science goals, technology and management interact in the design of space mission and act on innovation?

-­ Is there any common pattern in the innovation processes that once identified could be used for future space instruments?

Innovative technologies Space science missions are prototypes composed of novel and well-known technologies. These spacecrafts contain the most advanced technology at the time of their launch. Their developments pull up new technological concepts, which rest on advanced technologies, and are conditions for the success of a mission. The space machines are built to survive in hostile environments with a limited amount of energy on-board power. They are not supposed to be repaired in orbit. Their design and construction span over decades, which provides enough data to reconstruct their technical heritage and lineages. They are both visionary and ambitious industrial projects, and present big challenges for R&D laboratories. The motivation behind their production is mainly scientific and does not suffer strongly from market pressure. For these reasons, space missions represent powerful tools to analyse the process of incremental and breakthrough innovations.


First Meeting: 23 and 24 May 2013

Second Meeting: 17 and 18 December 2013

Third Meeting: 16 and 17 April 2014

Fourth Meeting: 27 and 28 January 2015

Fifth Meeting: June 2015 (in Paris, France)

Sixth Meeting: 28 and 29 October 2015

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