A European consortium with participation of the IEEC, Pangea and Aeroports de Catalunya obtains 4.9 million for the Eu-BEST project.

Lleida-Alguaire Airport is the chosen site for setting the “European Bench for Engine and Stage Testing” (Eu-BEST). The project, which will be funded with 4.9 million euros by the European Union, will be developed by a consortium of leading European companies and institutions. The French company EES-Clemessy, as the consortium leader, is working together with the Catalan entities: Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), Pangea Aerospace and Aeroports de Catalunya. Alongside these entities, SpaceDreams, OHB Digital Connect GmbH, and SUAS Aerospace Limited stand out.

The project has been chosen by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe funding programme, dedicated to research and innovation. Eu-BEST has been the only successful project in securing funding for the development of infrastructures for the needs of the aerospace sector under the call 23: “Modern, flexible and efficient European test production and launch facilities”.

The aim of the project is to create a rocket engine test facility with cryogenic capabilities, mobile, interoperable and with a modular design. This facility, which will join the already existing one at the Lleida-Alguaire, will allow the testing of different types of engines at various stages of their life cycle—qualification, production, or reuse—extending the capabilities up to 500kN. In addition, the centre will offer testing services to several companies in the industry and will enable the use of more sustainable liquid propellants, thanks to its cryogenic capabilities.

This kind of facility represents a paradigm shift for the aerospace industry, providing unprecedented versatility and extending propulsion testing capabilities that are not currently covered in Europe, in a more flexible and accessible way. This is a fundamental step towards making access to space easier through innovation and cost-cutting, and will position Spain and Catalonia as a reference location in Europe for private companies and institutions seeking to develop sustainable propulsion systems.