Call for ideas for the re-use of the MARS EXPRESS platform
10 March 2001
To be launched in 2005
The search for more efficiency is a constant concern of the Science Directorate since the initiation of the Horizon 2000 programme. As shown to ESA's SSAC and SPC, a number of scientific missions have led to considerable savings achieved by adopting new management procedures, exploiting cheaper industrial costs (especially the re-using platforms or subsystems developed for the other missions), and accessing cheaper launchers.
Particularly efficient in lowering mission cost is the re-use of existing platforms and subsystems. Re-using a platform, however, presents the major constraint that the new missions must follow within a short amount of time (2 to 3 years) after the mission using the first platform.
Under the assumption that this trend may continue in the near future, and considering the existence of the Mars Express, First and Planck platforms the Executive would like to probe this concept and see whether a re-use of the Mars Express platform without any modifications could yield a mission with a view to a possible launch in 2005.
It may well be that the funds available in the programme will not be sufficient to implement that mission, hence, pending the decision on the new LoR, to be made at the next Ministerial Conference in November 2001, the Executive cannot guarantee at this moment the success of this approach. However, if all the necessary conditions will be satisfied, a final decision on the mission could be foreseen after the Ministerial Conference, at the end of 2001-beginning of 2002.
The documents listed under the 'Useful Links' section provide further details on this Call for Ideas and the Mars Express Spacecraft Performance Summary.