news 23-October-2017 10:05:25

Call for White Papers for the definition of the L2 and L3 missions in the ESA Science Programme

05 March 2013

The Director of Science and Robotic Exploration intends to define, in the course of 2013, the science themes and questions that will be addressed by the next two Large (L-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan, "L2" and "L3", currently planned for a launch in 2028 and 2034, respectively. This process starts with a consultation of the broad scientific community, in the form of the current Call, soliciting White Papers to propose science themes and associated questions that the L2 and L3 missions should address. The submission deadline for White Papers is 24 May 2013, 12:00 CEST (noon).

Direct link to this Call page:

Update - 24 May 2013: The deadline for receipt of White Papers has passed.

Large (L-class) missions are the pillars of ESA's Science Programme, representing the stability and long-term planning for the scientific community and the ESA Member States. The definition of the Programme's pillars should rely on an adequate long-term perspective. This is needed to achieve the adequate technological and scientific preparation required by missions that set out to provide a significant, paradigm-changing advance in their respective fields.

The ESA Science Programme can implement three L-class missions every 20 years (two decades being the planning horizon covered by the Programme's successive long-term plans). Considering that the JUICE mission was recently selected for the L1 launch opportunity in 2022, the two other L-class missions (L2 and L3) can be launched in approximately 2028 and 2034. 

Selection process for the L2 and L3 missions

The L2 and L3 missions will be defined through a two-step process: first selecting the science themes  and questions that should be addressed by each of the two missions through this Call, and then selecting, in due time, the actual mission and payload consortia through dedicated Calls for Missions, issued at a later time.

The Director of Science and Robotic Exploration has appointed a Senior Survey Committee to advise him on the definition of the science themes. The SSC will attend an open workshop [link to workshop page] at which scientists who proposed new themes (in the form of White Papers) have been invited to present their ideas. After consultation with the Space Science Advisory Committee, the White Paper spokespersons, and additional members of the scientific community, theSSC will make a recommendation to the Director for the themes for the L2 and L3 missions. Based on this, the Director will make a proposal to the Science Programme Committee (SPC) who will select the themes at their meeting in mid-November 2013.

The Calls for Missions will be restricted to the science areas identified as an outcome of the Call for White Papers. The current planning foresees the issue of the Call for the L2 mission in the course of 2014, and the issue of the Call for the L3 mission likely around the end of the present decade.

Defining the science themes for L2 and L3

This Call, open to the broad scientific community, solicits White Papers advocating science themes and questions for the L2 and L3 flight opportunities. The White Papers should focus on two key points:

  • the science questions that are proposed to be addressed by an L-class flight opportunity
  • one (or more) strawman mission concept(s), or possible approaches to obtaining the necessary measurements, that could provide the answers to the science questions proposed.

White Papers can also explicitly advocate observatory-type missions and survey-type missions.

Each White Paper must identify a spokesperson, who must be available to present and advocate the White Paper's content.

The White Papers received will initially be subject to a screening to eliminate responses that are not of interest either technically or scientifically. Prior to submitting a White Paper authors are required to accept that the submitted material will be made public.

NOTE: Full details of this Call for White Papers are in the Call document, which is available from the right-hand menu.

Open Workshop

A number of spokespersons will be invited to present their case in an open workshop, planned to be held in Paris, on 3-4 September. The presentations will form part of the input to the selection process.

Timeline and deadlines

Proposals in response the present Call for White Papers are due by 12:00 CEST on 24 May 2013. Submission details are given below.

Release of Call for White Papers 5 March 2013
White Paper submission deadline 24 May 2013, 12:00 CEST (noon)
Invitation to spokespersons to the open workshop 8 July 2013
Open workshop 3-4 September 2013
Director's proposal to the SPC concerning the science themes for L2 and L3 Late October 2013
Selection of the science themes for L2 and L3 by the SPC 13-14 November 2013

White Paper submission

White Papers must be submitted electronically, as a pdf document, through the dedicated online submission form, which is accessible below and from the right-hand menu (the form opens in a new window). The pdf cannot be bigger than 20 MB.

White Paper submission form
Submission deadline has passed

White Papers are subject to a page limit of 16 pages of text, tables and figures, plus two pages for a cover and a list of supporters and two further pages for references, for a total of 20 pages. All text must be single spaced with a minimum font size of 11 points. Full details of the content and format specifications are in the Call document.

White Papers not respecting the format specifications or exceeding the page limit will be discarded and will not be considered for further evaluation.


Any inquiries for further information or clarification on this Call should be addressed to:

Last Update: 24 March 2014

For further information please contact:

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