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Announcement of Opportunity for Cluster Guest Investigator

08 July 2010

This Announcement of Opportunity solicits special operation proposals for participation in the Guest Investigator (GI) Programme of the Cluster extended mission from the European Space Agency (ESA). The aim of the GI Programme is to open future spacecraft science operations to the scientific community. Investigations are solicited which identify compelling utilization of the Cluster spacecraft payload for scientific study. The deadline for proposal submissions is 1 October 2010.

Eligibility to propose for the GI Programme covered by this AO is open to all scientists of any nationality. Selected proposals will have to obtain funding for their research from their national or other funding agencies.

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This AO solicits proposals for new payload operations utilizing the Cluster mission through participation in the Cluster Guest Investigator Programme.
Proposals to exploit Cluster data along with other satellites data (e.g. THEMIS), or proposals for theoretical and/or modelling studies focused on the goals and objectives of the mission, are encouraged. Principal and co-investigators on experiments on the Cluster mission are also eligible to propose under this AO.

Investigators are encouraged to propose the acquisition of data from more than one instrument. Inter-spacecraft separation can be changed but is limited to phasing manoeuvres due to limited available fuel.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to examine the information available via the documentation section of the Cluster Active Archive (, which also accompanies this AO as part of the Proposal Information Package (see below). In particular proposers are directed towards the instrument user guides, to obtain information on spacecraft payload specifications. In addition, proposers may contact the Cluster Project Scientist, Mission Manager and also instrument PIs directly for further information on instrument limitations and spacecraft limitations that may be pertinent to their proposal.

Full details of this AO and the guidelines for the Letters of Intent and Proposals in response to this AO can be found in the Cluster AO document, which is included in the documentation package for this AO.

AO documentation: Proposal Information Package

The Proposal Information Package (PIP) for this Cluster AO contains, in addition to the complete Cluster AO document, the following documents:

  • The User Guide (UG) and the Calibration Report (CR) for each of the 11 Cluster instruments (ASPOC, CIS, DWP, EDI, EFW, FGM, PEACE, RAPID, STAFF, WBD, WHISPER)
  • Eclipse times Cluster 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Cluster JSOC System Specification DS-JSO-SS-0001

The above documents can be downloaded as a single zip file (35 Mb) from the right-hand menu, under "Documentation".

Timetable of the AO

Issue date of the AO: 8 July 2010
Deadline for submission of Letter of Intent: 15 August 2010
Deadline for submission of Proposal: 1 October 2010
Evaluation phase: October 2010 - January 2011
Selection: February 2011

Letter of Intent

A Letter of Intent from prospective Guest Investigator programme proposers should reach ESA by 15 August 2010. The letter should be sent by email to M.G.G.T. Taylor (ESTEC) at:

The Letter of Intent should be concise (not more than 3 pages), and should provide the following information:

  1. A descriptive title for the proposal.
  2. Name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the Principal Investigator of the proposal. If the proposal is from a team, the name, affiliation and email of each member of the team should be included. A Principal Investigator should be identified from that team, with their full details provided.
  3. A brief abstract (1 page maximum) indicating: scientific rationale; data set(s) required; duration of operations (this should not be more than 3 orbits); region of space for observations; relation to other missions/ground based instruments where applicable.
  4. Intended source for funding.

Contact with ESA

Any requests for further information and clarification before submitting your proposal should be addressed to:

C.P. Escoubet
Postbus 299
2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Phone: (31) 71 5658009 
Telefax: (31) 71 5654697

M.G.G.T. Taylor
Postbus 299
2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Phone: (31) 71 5658009 
Telefax: (31) 71 5654697

Proposal submission

The proposal should be submitted electronically using the dedicated submission form, which can be accessed through the link below or in the right-hand menu (the form will open in a new window). ESA will confirm by e-mail the reception of the proposal.


Proposal Submission Form

   The deadline for submissions has passed

NOTE: The page limit for a proposal (page size A4, font size 12), including references and figures, is 6 pages: 1 cover page; scientific objectives (including the abstract and data requirements): 3 pages. Management plan: 1 page and funding statement: 1 page.

Last Update: 07 October 2010

For further information please contact:


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