June 15, 2016

Technology Readiness Levels - E-3

Access the maturity of technologies necessary to the product development

A. Scope

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are the levels of a metric designed to assess the maturity of a programme's technologies. They allow a systematic assessment independent of the discipline. This metric is used both for business lines that develop the technologies and those that integrate them in system production.

It is used:

  • for the former, to standardise their "technology road maps", manage research activity priorities and communicate with non-specialists;
  • for the latter, to make decisions during the definition phases about using/putting on board technologies with knowledge of the potential risks linked to their maturity level.


CNES (as well as ESA) uses the 9-level scale defined by NASA.

The definition is specified in the document "RNC-CNES-E-TM-10-502 Définition et utilisation des « TRL » pour les systèmes orbitaux et les systèmes de transports spatiaux ».

During the preliminary phase reviews of projects (0, A, B), equipment TRL matrices are presented to assess the risks linked to the technology maturity.

B. Fundamentals

The equipment TRL assessment, carried out in the framework of R&T activities or those of the projects, is recorded in matrices that are submitted to review groups (please refer to example in section C).

C. Typical content

Example for the SIMBOL-X project




Activities / documentation

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