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Request for Information (RFI) for the provision of the payload module for the joint ESA-China SMILE mission

18 December 2015

The European Space Agency invites European industry from ESA Member States to declare their interest for the provision of the payload module for the joint ESA-China SMILE mission by replying to this Request For Information (RFI). The submission deadline for the response to this RFI is 29 January 2016, 12:00 CET (noon).

Direct link to this RFI web page:

The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) is a joint mission between ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) with a planned launch date in 2022. The mission aims at increasing our understanding of the connection between the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetosphere by looking at the nose and polar cusps of the magnetosphere and the aurorae at the North Pole while simultaneously monitoring the in situ plasma environment.

The mission was selected by the Science Programme Committee (SPC) in November 2015 within the ESA Science Programme as the first joint mission with the Chinese Academy for Sciences for a nominal launch in 2022. The payload is provided and funded by consortia from a number of ESA Member States and China. ESA and CAS are jointly the Mission Architect.

The total space segment consists of a Propulsion Module (PM) and Service Module (SVM) provided by CAS, and a Payload Module (PLM) containing all the instruments, the PLM Control Unit and X-band communication system provided by ESA. The launch of the complete space segment will be under ESA responsibility. CAS will be in charge of the Mission Operations Centre, with a possible ESA contribution (e.g. ground station), and both ESA and CAS will participate in the Science Operations Centre.

The objective of the present Request For Information (RFI) is to collect preliminary information from potential providers in ESA Member States, in preparation for the corresponding Invitation to Tender planned in 2016. The payload module procurement would be based on a design-to-cost approach featuring low risks and a reliable development schedule.


The RFI documentation package can be downloaded from the dedicated section in the right-hand menu. The package includes:

• The RFI for the provision of the payload module for the SMILE mission
• Payload Module Requirements Document (PLMRD)
• Four Instrument Interface Control Documents (summary)
• Space-to-Ground Interface Control Document (summary)
• Environmental Specifications (ES)
• Science Requirements Document (SciRD)
• Payload Definition Document (PDD)
• Mission Analysis Guidelines (MAG)
• Summary of the Internal Final Presentation of the SMILE CDF study (IFP)


The information package in response to this RFI shall be sent by e-mail to the following addresses:,,

Last Update: 21 December 2015

For further information please contact:

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