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Embedded devices used in the space industry have to face stringent requirements imposed by their deployment environment, namely high reliability, limited resources, and challenges in heat dissipation. In addition, to make matters worse, the demand for advanced processing capability is growing steadily to meet future exploration and deep space mission requirements. At the European Space Agency, ongoing studies are focusing the use of reconfigurable and adaptable systems to help finding solutions to the aforementioned issues as well as to how reconfigurable systems can aid in mission cost reductions. After giving a general overview of the efforts spent in this direction, this paper presents two concrete examples of on going research activities funded by the European Space Agency.