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Joint Call for a Mission from the Chinese Academy Of Sciences (CAS) And The European Space Agency (ESA)

19 January 2015

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration (ESA-SRE) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have agreed to jointly pursue a scientific space mission, to be implemented by the ESA Science Programme and the Chinese National Space Science Centre (NSSC) under the CAS. The present Joint Call for Missions solicits proposals for such mission from the scientific communities in the ESA Member States and in China. The proposal submission deadline is 16 March 2015, 12:00 (noon) CET/19:00 Beijing Time.

Direct link to this Call page:

Purpose and goals

The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavour between the European and Chinese scientific communities. The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation.

To promote the interaction between Chinese and European scientists, two workshops were held, in Chengdu, China (in February 2014) and Copenhagen, Denmark (in September 2014). Following on from the workshops, ESA and CAS issued the pre-announcement of the Call on 28 November 2014.

Proposals submitted in response to the present Joint Call have to satisfy a number of criteria. These include:

  • The proposed mission has to aim at a launch readiness in 2021.
  • Proposals have to be co-signed by two Co-PIs, one affiliated with an ESA Member State institution, the other with a Chinese institution;
  • Proposals have to explicitly demonstrate compliance with the technical and programmatic boundary conditions defined by ESA and NSSC (detailed definition of these boundary conditions is provided as an Annex in the Call information package);
  • Data policy will have to comply with ESA and NSSC rules; this implies that all data will have to be public after a one year proprietary period during which the data are the exclusive property of the Co-PIs for the purpose of scientific exploitation.
  • All stages of the mission's scientific preparation and exploitation have to be carried out by joint teams. Data rights will be in all cases shared;
  • Payload has to be jointly provided by European and Chinese teams.

Call information package

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

Timeline and deadlines

Issue of the Joint Call for Missions 19 January 2015
Deadline for the submission of proposals in response to the Call 16 March 2015, 12:00 (noon) CET / 19:00 Beijing Time
Indicative dates for following steps
Scientific peer review April 2015
Selection of proposal(s) for study Late 2015
Study phase 2 years
Implementation phase 4 years
Launch 2021

Outline Of Proposals

A proposal outline is included in the Call information package. All proposals must be written in English.

The page limit for proposals submitted in response to the present Joint Call is 50 A4 pages, with a minimum font size of 11 pt. The submitted files shall be in pdf format, not locked or protected and shall have a maximum file size of 70 Mbytes. Proposals not respecting these requirements will be rejected by the submission system.

Proposal Submission

Submissions of proposals are accepted exclusively in electronic form through either the online submission form that is available below and from the right-hand menu, or though the interface at

Proposal submission form
The deadline has passed

The submission deadline for all proposals submitted in response to the present Joint Call is 16 March 2015, 12:00 (noon) CET / 19:00 Beijing Time.

Selection Of Proposals

Proposals submitted in response to the present Joint Call will first undergo a screening for technical and programmatic feasibility, jointly performed by ESA and CAS. This screening will examine the proposal's technical feasibility in the light of the constraints stated in the Call and in the relative Annex, as well as the programmatic feasibility, including e.g. the achievability of the proposed schedule, the possibility for the mission to be implemented within the budget constraints, and the availability of funding for the payload elements.

Proposals that are jointly deemed feasible by ESA and CAS will then be subject to a scientific peer review, carried out by a joint, co-chaired committee of European-affiliated and Chinese-affiliated scientists. The peer review committee will provide its advise to ESA and CAS, who will take the final decision about which proposal or proposals to select for a study phase.


Interested scientists can contact Luigi Colangeli ( and Lilin Sun ( for further information.


Last Update: 18 December 2015

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