The NewAthena Study is equivalent to a Phase A/B1. The goal of Phase A Studies is to perform a preliminary mission design in order to verify whether the mission can be implemented within cost and schedule and to provide sufficient information to enable selection of one mission (or mission baseline in case of a single mission). The objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • ​​​​Review, refinement, and ultimate consolidation of top-level requirements

  • ​​​​​Full investigation of alternative architectures, trade-offs, mission analysis and operations

  • Identification and verification of design drivers and critical elements (especially those  that have no or little heritage) with a corresponding mitigation plan (e.g. new  technology developments)

  • Identification of a feasible mission design and definition of a baseline

  • Identification of suitable launcher(s)

  • Definition, execution, and reviews of technology developments

  • Risk assessment (identify all risks and mitigation measures)

  • ​​​​​​Establishment of a baseline master schedule

  • Establishment of the Estimate-at-Completion (EaC) for ESA and a funding scheme  for the national provided payload elements that must be reliable for the purpose of the Mission Selection by including adequate contingencies. ​​​​​​

  • Selection of a ground and space system design and operations concept

  • Define interface with the payload

  • Complete the technology development activities required for adoption