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
The deadline for receipt of Phase-1 proposals has passed.




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:
11 December 2018
European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC),
Noordwijk, The Netherlands



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
Deadline for receipt of Phase-2 proposals: 20 March 2019, 12:00 (noon) CET



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: by 12:00 (noon) CEST on 10 April 2019.


Letters of Endorsement
Send to:
for receipt of the letters: 10 April 2019, 12:00 (noon) CEST



Schedule for this call and important dates

Activity Date
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:

Luigi Colangeli

Head of the Science Coordination Office
Directorate of Science
European Space Agency


Last updated: 13 September 2018


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