Current status of S-, M- and L-class missions
Current status – S1 mission
CHEOPS has been selected as the S1 mission, with targeted launch date in 2017.
A technical screening was carried out by ESA on all proposals received in response to the call for S-class missions. On 20 September 2012, the proposals that passed the screening were evaluated by the Space Science Advisory Committee, which recommended CHEOPS as the S1 mission. The Science Programme Committee selected CHEOPS at their meeting on 19 October 2012.
Prior to being proposed as a candidate mission in response to the call for small (S-class) missions, CHEOPS had been the subject of national studies at Phase A level, led the University of Bern. Following the selection of CHEOPS as the S1 mission, a Concurrent Design Facility study has been initiated to establish the mission baseline and enable ESA to acquire complete information about the current status of the design. Subsequently, ESA will carry out two parallel industrial studies for phase A/B1, that were completed in the second half of 2013. The implementation phase for CHEOPS began in July 2014.
Current status – M1 and M2 missions
Solar Orbiter and Euclid have been selected for implementation, with targeted launch dates in 2018 and 2020, respectively
The ESA internal assessment phase (Phase 0) for all M1/M2 candidate missions (with the exception of Solar Orbiter which had been carried over from Horizon 2000 Plus) commenced in late 2007. By mid-2008 Invitations to Tender had been issued for parallel industrial assessment studies of these candidate missions. The results of the Phase 0 system and instrument studies for the M1/M2 candidate missions were presented to the European space science community on 1 December 2009.
In January 2010 the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC) ranked the candidate missions, taking account of the scientific priorities of the Cosmic Vision plan and the technical feasibility of the candidate missions, and provided a recommendation to the ESA Executive regarding which missions should proceed to the next phase. The Executive brought this recommendation to the Science Programme (SPC) who decided, at a meeting on 18 February 2010, to approve Euclid, PLATO and Solar Orbiter for advancement to the definition phase.
The reports from the definition phase, known as the 'Red Books', were published in July 2011. The technical and programmatic evaluation of the candidate missions showed that all three missions are feasible and sufficiently mature to enter the implementation phase. In October 2011, the SPC selected Solar Orbiter and Euclid for implementation, with Solar Orbiter being adopted into the Science Programme at that time, and Euclid being adopted in June 2012. Both missions are currently in the implementation phase.
Current status – M3 mission
PLATO has been selected as the M3 mission, planned for launch by 2024.
The ESA internal assessment phase (Phase 0) for the four M3 candidate missions commenced in Spring 2011. The results of these assessments were used to prepare Invitations to Tender that were issued to industry in Autumn 2011. These industrial activities started in January 2012 and continued through 2013. The results of these studies formed the basis for the recommendation of missions to enter the definition study phase.
In parallel, studies of the scientific instrumentation for the missions were carried out by consortia of scientific institutes selected by ESA through a number of open calls and financially supported by the ESA Member States.
In February 2014, PLATO was selected as M3 mission. It is currently in the study phase.
Current status – L1 mission
JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) has been selected as the L1 mission following the process described here
The ESA internal assessment phase (Phase 0) for all L-class candidate missions (with the exception of LISA which had been carried over from Horizon 2000 Plus) commenced in mid-2008; at this time two outer Solar System candidates were under consideration: EJSM-Laplace and TandEM/TSSM. In early February 2009 ESA and NASA jointly announced that EJSM-Laplace would be the L-class outer Solar System mission candidate. At this stage the studies concerning the TandEM/TSSM mission concept within ESA were terminated. During 2009 Invitations to Tender for industrial assessment studies for EJSM-Laplace and IXO were issued. These studies were completed by the end of 2010. The mission science and the results of the assessment studies were presented to the European space science community on 3 February 2011.
Shortly thereafter, in April 2011, ESA announced a new way forward for L-class candidate missions, to take account of developments with ESA's international partners, and specifically the fact that the combination of NASA's budgetary outlook and the recommendations from the US Decadal Committee made it unlikely that any of the L-class mission candidates could be implemented as a joint Europe-US mission in the planned timeframe of the early 2020s.
All three L-class candidate missions were reformulated to determine if any of the three original L1 mission concepts could be implemented as affordable European-led missions, with possible limited international participation, to be launched in the early 2020s. For the purposes of this reformulation exercise, new mission names were introduced: The X-ray mission (formerly IXO) became the Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA); the gravity wave mission (formerly LISA) became the New Gravitational wave Observatory (NGO); and the Jupiter mission (formerly Laplace) became the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE).
The Assessment Study Reports (Yellow Books) for the three reformulated missions were published in December 2011 and the SSAC made its recommendations to ESA's Executive in April 2012. In May 2012, the SPC selected JUICE as the L1 mission, with a targeted launch date of 2022. JUICE entered the implementation phase in November 2014.