Let's go! ESA's Future Science missions get full approval
13 October 2000At its 92nd meeting, on 11-12 October 2000, ESA's Science Programme Committee took the final step to consolidate the future of the science programme by unanimously endorsing the recommendations of the Space Science Advisory Committee of 15 September, which proposed a package to be implemented in the years 2008-2013.
The package consists of five missions and one reserve, namely:
The SSAC recommended a package instead of a limited number of missions, because the schedule of both NGST and LISA is outside of the control of ESA. These are all exciting missions, which could be implemented between 2008 and 2013 if the yearly budget were to remain at the present level, albeit with a yearly compensation for inflation.
The SPC , while endorsing the SSAC recommendations, added the following resolution:
The SPC supports the recommendation of the SSAC regarding the decision on future Cornerstones and the selection of F2/F3 missions (SSAC(2000)4).
With the choices made, by around 2013, ESA will also substantially contribute to creating a catalogue of dangerous NEO's.
The SPC also approved the other recommendations of the SSAC: - a support costing up to 2 MEuro to the mission COROT (COnvection, ROtation and planetary Transits ) of CNES; - a support costing up to 5 Meuro to the mission MICROSCOPE: MICROSatellite "` trannie COmpensie" pour l'Observation du Principe d'Equivalence.
In return for the support, both missions will be "europeanised", the details are yet to be worked out.
These missions will also fill the foreseen "gap" in launches of ESA scientific missions, which will extend from 2003 to 2007.
In 2004 the IR mission ASTRO-F, of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) of Japan will also be launched. The SPC recommended the collaboration between ESA and ISAS on this mission, for a total cost to ESA of approximately 3.8 Meuro.
Finally, the SPC will decide the implementation of SMART-2, a technological mission supporting future cornerstones, at an extraordinary meeting to be held on 8 November 2000.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Hugo Marie
Mr. Franco Bonacina