Management of Missions in Assessment Phase
The life cycle of a new science mission begins with an assessment study. During the assessment phase, of typically one year, we analyse the complete mission, including the launcher, mission profile, the spacecraft, the science payload, and the ground segment. We establish the science requirements and derive from that a payload suite to achieve these requirements. This process includes the following:
The phase includes internal as well as industrial activities. The later are usually in the form of two parallel competitive studies, leading to the definition of a mission baseline.
The assessment phase is concluded with the final results of the industrial studies, together with the definition of a reference payload complement, of a technology plan and of a complete risk and programmatic assessment.
Assessment Phase Studies
Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 assessment studies
The Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 assessment studies presently being conducted under SRE-FA responsibility are the following:
Following the selection of the mission candidates carried out by the Advisory Structure of the Science Directorate in October 2007, the study activities have been started, leading to the following main steps:
Assessment studies conducted by SRE-FA in the recent past
Before the release of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 call for new missions, SRE-FA has been working on a number of assessment studies. The main examples are listed below.
SRE-FA was responsible (since July 2006) for the Darwin pre-assessment activities in close collaboration with the Advanced Technologies section, SRE-FT, who took care of the corresponding technology development activities. In addition, SRE-FA was also responsible for the Darwin-GENIE feasibility study, completed at the end of 2005. Darwin-related activities were stopped following the results of the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 proposal selection process.
XEUS - (X-ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy)
SRE-FA was responsible (since May 2005) for the XEUS pre-assessment activities in close collaboration with SRE-FT for the corresponding technology development activities. XEUS was selected as an L-class candidate for Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 in October 2007 and additional XEUS assessment activities were conducted by SRE-FA until June 2008. Since July 2008 the XEUS mission concept has been superseded by IXO – the International X-ray Observatory.
In 2004 SRE-FA commenced the Assessment phase for the Solar Orbiter mission. This began with an internal ESA study using the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) and continued with two parallel industrial contracts with the aims of:
The results of the industrial activities were summarised in a dedicated report at the end of Q4 2005, thus concluding the assessment phase of this mission. The Project Department, SRE-P, takes responsibility for the subsequent phases of the project. A Letter Of Intent for the Solar Orbiter payload procurement was issued by ESA in October 2007.
In 2003 SRE-FP managed the final BepiColombo assessment study for the challenging mission to Mercury SRE-FA provided support on programmatic aspects and specific payload elements (dedicated Laser Altimeter study).