Call for a Fast (F) mission opportunity
in ESA's Science Programme
for a launch in the 2026-2028 timeframe
Update 13 September 2018
The Workshop for Phase-2 proposers is confirmed for 11 December 2018
at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC),
Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
16 July 2018
The ESA Director of Science solicits proposals from the scientific community in ESA Member States for a Fast (F) mission to be launched in the 2026-2028 timeframe.
ESA's Science Programme is based on long-term planning of scientific goals. The Cosmic Vision plan (available as ESA BR-247) was established in 2005 on the basis of a bottom-up process that started with a consultation of the broad scientific community. The plan contains the wide-ranging and ambitious scientific questions to be addressed by missions in the ESA Science Programme.
The foundations of the Science Programme are the Large (L-class) and Medium (M-class) missions that ensure European leadership in a number of fields. Focused, smaller missions of opportunity are also a feature of the Programme — these have provided opportunities for experimenting with new approaches without impacting the integrity of the Programme.
This Call for a Fast mission aims at defining a mission of modest size (wet mass less than 1000 kg) to be launched towards the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point as a co-passenger to the ARIEL M mission, or possibly the PLATO M mission. From L2 the mission should reach its target orbit or destination with its own propulsion system.
The Call is open to all areas of space science. Any scientific goal and spacecraft technical configuration will be considered, including missions aiming at multi-point scientific measurements, for example, Near-Earth Objects or Main Belt comets, considered in the studies performed by ESA following the Call for New Science Ideas issued in 2016. The cost at completion of mission elements that are under ESA responsibility is capped at 150 M€, not including the launch. The mission will be implemented under a fast scheme, with a total development duration from the early candidate selection to launch of less than 8 years.
This Call for a Fast mission is open to international collaboration, and European-only missions as well as ESA-led missions in collaboration with international partners can be proposed.
The proposal submission process for this Call will be based on a two-phase approach.
Call information package
The documentation for this Call includes a Letter of Invitation from the Director of Science, the Call for a Fast mission document, and an Annex to the Call document containing technical details. These documents are available to download from the right-hand menu. Please consult the documents for full details, requirements, and constraints for this Call.
Phase-1 proposal details
As indicated above, responding to this Call is a two-phase process. Phase-1 proposals must be submitted electronically (in pdf format), using the form linked below, by 12:00 (noon) CEST on 25 October 2018. Late submissions will not be considered.
Details of the required content for Phase-1 proposals are given in the Call for a Fast mission document.
Phase-1 Proposal Submission Form
Proposers whose proposal passed the Phase-1 screening will be invited to a workshop to discuss the feasibility of the proposals with the ESA engineering team. They will then be invited to submit a Phase-2 proposal. The workshop will be held on 11 December 2018, at the European Space Research and Technology Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Workshop for Phase-2 proposers:
Phase-2 proposal details
Phase-2 proposals must be submitted electronically (in pdf format), using the form linked below, by 12:00 (noon) CET on 20 March 2019. Phase-2 proposals not preceded by a corresponding Phase-1 proposal will not be considered. Late submissions will not be considered.
Details of the required content for Phase-2 proposals are given in the Call for a Fast mission document.
Phase-2 Proposal Submission Form
Proposal endorsement by national funding bodies
Letters of endorsement from Member State agencies must be provided for Phase-2 proposals. Details of the context and requirements for the Letters are given in the Call for a Fast mission document.
The Letters should be addressed to the ESA Director of Science and sent directly by Member State agencies to this email address: endorsement-fastcosmos.esa.int by 12:00 (noon) CEST on 10 April 2019.
Letters of Endorsement
Schedule for this call and important dates
|Release of the Call for a Fast (F) mission||16 July 2018|
|Phase-1 proposal submission deadline||25 October 2018 – 12:00 (noon) CEST|
|Phase-1 proposal assessment||November 2018|
|Workshop for Phase-2 proposers |
at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
|11 December 2018*|
|Phase-2 proposal submission deadline||20 March 2019 – 12:00 (noon) CET|
|Letters of Endorsement deadline||10 April 2019 – 12:00 (noon) CEST|
|Proposal evaluation and scientific ranking||April – July 2019|
|Phase 0 study||July – December 2019|
|Selection of candidate mission||February 2020|
|Phase A/B industrial kick-off||September 2020|
|Mission adoption||November 2022|
|Mission CDR||June 2024|
|Spacecraft launch readiness||December 2027|
* Updated 13 September: Workshop date confirmed for 11 December
Queries should be addressed to:
Head of the Science Coordination Office
Directorate of Science
European Space Agency
Last updated: 13 September 2018