Timing of 2006 Call for Mission Proposals
1 June 2006At the May SPC it was agreed that the ESA Executive might proceed in mid-June 2006 the release of a Call for Mission Proposals for the space missions to fly post-2015. However it was recognised that this would be subject to the opinion of the Science Programme Review Team (SPRT), which had not met at the time of the SPC meeting.
The SPRT had been set up by the ESA Council on the recommendation of the SPC in March. The team met first on 18 and 19 May and discussed the issuance of the call both with the Director of Science and the Chair of SPC, as well as in closed-session. The outcome was a strong suggestion being made to the Director-General to postpone the Call until the Autumn of 2006. This was sent in a letter to Mr Dordain yesterday with copies to Director Science and Chair of SPC.
The viewpoint of the Team is that an additional few months delay would give an opportunity for reviews by the Team to take place and the thoughts of the Team to be consolidated on those parts of the future Programme management impacted by the structure of the call. In their opinion, therefore, despite the virtue of releasing the call before summer, the greater long-term interest to space science in Europe is better served by a delay of a few months.
In the circumstances, the Director of Science has agreed that the call will be delayed until the Autumn, at the latest, in order that the SPRT will be able to review this aspect of the programme.