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These pages list answers to questions received in response to the Announcement of Opportunity (AO), released on 24 September 2012, for the provision of scientific payload including SGS elements for the four M3 candidate missions: EChO, LOFT, MarcoPolo-R and STE-QUEST.

Below are the questions of general relevance that apply to all four M3 candidate missions. Additional questions specific to each candidate mission can be accessed through the following links, or from the right hand menu.


Q&A of general relevance

14 Nov 2012 -  Clarifying feedback during review process
Q: In the AO we do not see any indication that the review process will include an iteration with the proposing body for clarifying questions. Is the assumption correct that we have not to expect any questions to be answered in due time?
A: Proposals will in general be assessed on their own merit, with no iteration foreseen with the proposers. In exceptional cases ESA may address specific clarification questions to proposers, with an answer required within a few days.
8 Nov 2012 -  ITAR controlled and/or proprietary information
Q: What is the approach to follow in the preparation of proposals for material that is either ITAR controlled and/or proprietary information?
A: Proposals must be self-standing for enabling a reliable technical and programmatic evaluation by ESA of the proposed instrument.

Proprietary information will be treated by the Agency with the confidentiality that is customarily applied in such cases. The external reviewers (members of the Payload Review Committee) will be requested to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

Items subject to ITAR regulation can be proposed as part of the instrument design if deemed necessary by proposers. However, any transfer of ITAR-protected information (documents) requires the signature of a specific Technical Assistance Agreements (TAAs) between the Agency and the relevant US entity. This cannot be considered in the framework of the submission of proposals. Proposers are requested to make sure their proposals can be evaluated by the Agency, that is not in a position to accept ITAR-protected documentation as part of proposals. Proposers are therefore invited to include all information they deem necessary for the proposal evaluation without violating ITAR regulations. As a general point, the identification of European-based back-up solutions is encouraged for all mission elements.

25 Oct 2012 -  Possibility to provide supplementary information in a separate document
Q: In the technical description of the proposal, it is asked to provide the payload requirement specifications. We are uncertain what we should provide as a full set of instrument requirements might exceed the required page limit. Is it allowed to provide supplementary information in a separate document or is the meaning to provide an extraction of key requirements?
A: Please provide key requirements in the main document. Additional supplementary information can be provided in a separate document.
18 Oct 2012 -  Instrument models delivery dates
Q: The delivery dates of different instrument models are indicated as TBD in the EID-A. What are the need dates?
A: Preliminary need dates (TBC) are listed below. In the proposal please provide input on optimized model philosophy concerning your specific case. The reference schedule will be revisited before the planned PRR.
STM: Q4/2017 (TBC)
E(Q)M: Q4/2018 (TBC)
(P)FM: Q1/2020 (TBC)
18 Oct 2012 -  Required period to cover in costing
Q: Should the costing of operations cover the nominal or the optional lifetime? What is the duration of the post-mission activities?
A: Please cost both mission duration options, keeping the baseline and the extension as separate and well identifiable items.
In the case of EChO the duration of the post-operations activities has been preliminarily estimated to correspond to three years. In the other cases, the proposing team is invited to define the expected duration of the post-mission activities according to the foreseen needs. The envisaged duration estimate will be consolidated during the next phases of the study.
18 Oct 2012 -  Role of Funding Agencies
Q: In the AO the concept of a Leading Funding Agency (LFA) is defined but it says nothing about "standard" Funding Agencies. It is not clear how LFAs are different from funding agencies. Furthermore, it is assumed that Co-Is will seek agreement with the LFA through their agencies (page 10). As the time is rather short it is not clear if this can be handled. Can you please clarify?
A: See slide #19 of the general presentation given at the briefing meeting. This presentation is also available from the main AO web page.
18 Oct 2012 -  Manpower cost estimates given as FTE
Q: Can the manpower cost estimates be expressed in terms of FTE as opposed to actual money (as different approaches are used in different member states)?
A: Yes. The provided cost spread sheet should be filled in as it best fits the needs of the proposal, but the proposers should explain clearly the underlying assumptions.
18 Oct 2012 -  The proposal submission form
Q: We would like to know what is the proposal submission form (mentioned on the ESA web).
A: The web form to be filled in at the time of proposal submission will be made available soon. However, it will be dedicated to provide very basic information: Title of Proposal - Information on the PI/Consortium lead, and so on. This proposal submission form has nothing to do with the Proposal in itself that must be prepared according to the formats and contents indicated in the AO documentation.


Last Update: 1 September 2019
13-Aug-2020 12:24 UT

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