Home - Call for missions 2021
Call for a Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme
Update 8 November 2023: The space science community has narrowed down the shortlist for ESA's next 'medium' mission to three finalists: M-MATISSE, Plasma Observatory, and THESEUS. Following further study, one will be selected for implementation as the newest addition to ESA's space science mission fleet. Read more here.
Update 5 July 2023: Presentations from the briefing meeting for proposers about the M7 down-selection process (held on 27 June) can be accessed here:
|M7 down-selection approach (pdf) - P. McNamara|
|M7 plenary debrief - upcoming MDR (pdf) - P. Falkner, M. Linder|
Update 8 November 2022: Update on the F2 and M7 mission opportunity
Update 2 November 2022: ESA's new Fast mission is ARRAKIHS
Update 3 February 2022: A Q&A page has been added with answers to questions posed after the briefing meeting.
Update 13 January 2022: The presentation from the briefing meeting is available to download here (pdf).
Issue date: 13 December 2021
The ESA Director of Science solicits the scientific community in ESA's Member States for proposals for both a "Fast" mission opportunity (to be launched in the 2030-2031 timeframe) and for a Medium mission opportunity (to be launched around 2037).
The new long-term scientific plan Voyage 2050, for the Science Programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), has been issued in June 2021, following a broad consultation of the scientific community and a peer review process, with final recommendations issued by an independent scientific Senior Committee.
The plan includes three Large (L) missions in selected science themes (Moons of the Giant Planets, From Temperate Exoplanets to the Milky Way, and New Physical Probes of the Early Universe) and a set of Medium (M) and Fast (F) missions.
The definition of the F and M space missions is based on a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process. Even though the Voyage 2050 plan identifies a set of possible themes for the Medium missions, proposals in all fields of space science will be considered, with no prejudice.
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 Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme document, an Annex to the Call document containing technical details, and the Voyage 2050 Senior Committee report. These documents are available to download from the right-hand menu. Please consult the documents for full details, requirements, and constraints for this Call.
A briefing meeting for Lead Proposers will be held on 13 January 2022 (14:00 CET -17:00 CET). ESA experts will present the key features of the Call and will be available to answer questions from potential proposers. Interested parties should register for this briefing meeting before 12:00 (noon) CET on 11 January 2022.
Pre-submission briefing meeting for Lead Proposers
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) CET on 14 February 2022. Late submissions will not be considered.
Details of the required content for Phase-1 proposals are given in the Call for a Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme 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 date and location of the workshops will be communicated to the Lead Proposers.
Phase-2 proposal details
Phase-2 proposals must be submitted electronically (in pdf format), using the form linked below, by 12:00 (noon) CEST on 15 July 2022. 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 Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme 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 Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme document.
The Letters should be addressed to the ESA Director of Science and sent directly by Member State agencies to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org by 12:00 (noon) CEST on 15 September 2022.
Letters of Endorsement
Schedule for this call and important dates
|Release of the Call for an M and an F mission||13 December 2021|
|Registration for pre-submission briefing meeting closes||11 January 2022, 12:00 CET|
|Pre-submission briefing meeting||13 January 2022, 14:00 CET to 17:00 CET|
|Phase-1 proposal submission deadline||14 February 2022 – 12:00 (noon) CET|
|Phase-1 proposal assessment||February - April 2022|
|Phase-1 proposer notification||Mid-April 2022 (exact date TBD)|
|Workshops for Phase-2 proposers||End-April 2022 (exact date TBD)|
|Phase-2 proposal submission deadline||15 July 2022 – 12:00 (noon) CEST|
|Letters of Endorsement deadline||15 September 2022 – 12:00 (noon) CEST|
|Proposal evaluation and scientific ranking||July – October 2022|
|Selection of missions for study||November 2022|
Queries should be addressed to:
Head of the Science Coordination Office
Directorate of Science
European Space Agency
Astronomy and Astrophysics Mission Coordinator
Directorate of Science
European Space Agency
Last updated: 30 November 2023
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Added 13 January 2022:
Presentation from the briefing meeting
Added 3 February 2022:
Q & A page with answers to questions posed after the briefing meeting.