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Call for a Small mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme for a launch in 2017

09 March 2012

Through the present Call the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration solicits from the broad scientific community in ESA's Member States proposals for the competitive selection of mission concepts to be candidate for the implementation of one small-size (S-class) mission for launch in 2017. The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 June 2012, 12:00 (noon) Central European Time.

Direct link to this Call page:

Interested parties planning to submit a proposal are requested, as indicated below, to send a Letter of Intent by 23 March and will be invited to attend a briefing meeting on 28 March (date and location TBC).

Small-size missions represent a novel component within the ESA Science Programme, to date based on large-size "L-class missions" (called "cornerstones" in the past, typically implemented on an Ariane 5 launcher) and medium-size "M-class missions", typically implemented today on Soyuz launchers. The present Call therefore imposes as little restrictions as possible to the implementation scheme for the proposed missions, allowing the scientific community to bring forward novel ideas and explore approaches complementary to the current components of the ESA Science Programme. At the same time, the Call imposes strict limits on the cost of the missions that can be implemented under the advertised scheme.

Small-size missions are defined for the purpose of the present Call as space missions with a development time not exceeding 4 years. Proposals submitted in response to the present Call can address all areas of space science.

The schedule for the issue of the Call and the proposal evaluation process is:

LOI submission deadline March 23, 2012 (12:00 CET)
Briefing meeting March 28, 2012 (TBC)
Proposal submission deadline June 15, 2012 (12:00 CET)
Proposal evaluation July - October 2012

Call information package

Full details of the Call are available in the information package. It contains the announcement letter, the Call document and the Annex. The package can be downloaded as a single zip file from the right-hand menu, under "Documentation".

Letter of Intent (LOI) submission

Prospective proposers are required to submit, by 23 March 2012, at 12:00 (noon) CET, a Letter of Intent (LOI) stating their intention to submit a proposal in response to the present Call. Submission of a LOI is mandatory; proposals not preceded by a corresponding LOI will not be considered.

Submissions are accepted exclusively in electronic form, in PDF format, using the online submission form that can be accessed below or from the right-hand menu (the form opens in a new window).

LOI Submission Form

The deadline for submissions has passed

The LOI should have a maximum length of 1 A4 page, minimum font size 11 pt.

A copy of the LOI should be sent to the national funding agencies expected to play a major role in the funding of any mission element.

A description of the purpose of the LOI and the expected content is available in the Call, which is included in the documentation package.

Letters of Intent may have as an attachment a list of questions the proposer would like to see addressed at the briefing meeting. This list is limited in length to 1 A4 page.

Proposal submission

Submissions are accepted exclusively in electronic form, in PDF format, using the online submission form that can be accessed below or from the right-hand menu (the form opens in a new window).

Proposal submission form

The deadline for submissions has passed

Proposals will be limited in length to 30 A4 pages (including any title page, appendices, bibliography, etc.), with a minimum font size of 11 pt, and a maximum file size of 50 Mbytes.

A description of the expected proposal content is available in the Annex, which is included in the documentation package of this Call.

Briefing meeting

Following the submission of a Letter of Intent, proposers will be invited to a briefing meeting, currently planned for 28 March 2012 (date and location TBC). Confirmation of the date and of the logistical details for the briefing meeting will be communicated to the contact points indicated in the Letters of Intent.


The main contact point for this Call is:

Dr. Fabio Favata
Head of ESA Science Planning and Community Coordination Office

Last Update: 20 March 2013

For further information please contact:

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