Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
The ESA Science Technology Development Route
Instruments and spacecraft sub-systems are classified according to a "Technology Readiness Level" (TRL) on a scale of 1 to 9. Levels 1 to 4 relate to creative, innovative technologies before or during mission assessment phase. Levels 5 to 9 relate to existing technologies and to missions in definition phase.
Technology Readiness Level Summary
Basic principles observed and reported
Technology concept and/or application formulated
Analytical & experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept
Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space)
||System prototype demonstration in a space environment|
||Actual system completed and "flight qualified" through test and demonstration (ground or space) |
||Actual system "flight proven" through successful mission operations |
If the TRL is too low, then a mission risks being jeopardized by delays or cost over-runs. It is a responsibility of the Future Missions Preparation Office to promote the technology readiness at a very early stage in order to make new missions feasible.
Last Update: 08 Mar 2012