The longer lifetimes of solid oxide cells (SOC) – obtained and still required, both in fuel cell and electrolysis operation – exacerbate the need for accelerated stress tests, since neither reliable degradation models are currently available nor validated methodologies to evaluate expected stack durability in a practical timeframe. The project AD ASTRA ( "HArnessing Degradation mechanisms to prescribe Accelerated Stress Tests for the Realization of SOC lifetime prediction Algorithms") started operations to tackle this on January 1st 2019, funded by the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. Generally, a great number of operational parameters influence SOC degradation during lifetime, each contributing according to characteristic times and intensities, often in convoluted or even contrasting fashion. Aggravation of test input parameters can thus lead to non-representative accelerated degradation of a component where concurring effects are differently influenced, leading to a biased end state of the component investigate. To systematically address, harness and accelerate the selected failure modes, a matrix was set up of degradation mechanisms, test items, test procedures and characterization methods, that was translated to protocols in such a way that consistent measurement data are generated, helping subsequent analysis and correlation of phenomena and parameters by the project's modelling and simulation activities. The testing approach consists of a dual-focus campaign targeting: • macroscopic stack testing procedures, where short stacks will be operated in situ, in aggravated conditions with the objective of identifying test settings that will stress the stack in a representative way but minimizing testing time and resource expenditure • specific component ageing tests, to reproduce (ex-situ) the degraded condition of critical stack components or interfaces in a faster time, based on analysis of the components extracted from stacks that have been field-tested. A radical innovation of the project consists in the integration of these two methods: components specifically aged ex situ assembled into otherwise "new" stacks for in-situ testing, so that their effect on stack performance can be easily isolated from other components that in real-world conditions would also degrade. These tests allow to observe from the start (t=0) the end-of-service stack degradation, radically reducing in-situ testing time and providing powerful means to validate models simulating the long-term effects of component degradation in a stack.