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Phase 0 studies completed for the M4 Cosmic Vision candidate missions

Phase 0 studies completed for the M4 Cosmic Vision candidate missions

2 October 2015

Three science missions, ARIEL, THOR and XIPE, chosen in June as candidates for the M4 Cosmic Vision launch opportunity, have been the subjects of Phase 0 studies at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility. Preliminary details of these studies are now available for consultation.

The Phase 0 studies, which cover initial feasibility studies and the consolidation of requirements, were performed at ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) by dedicated engineering teams with the support of the candidate missions' Study Science Teams, which are composed of experts from the science community. The studies are based on the proposals that were submitted to ESA in response to the M4 Call.

The three missions address the science of exoplanets, plasma physics and the X-ray Universe: ARIEL, the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, will determine the chemical composition and physical conditions of the atmosphere for several hundred exoplanets; THOR, a plasma mission, will investigate the physical mechanisms underlying the energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations in plasmas; and XIPE, an X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer, will provide high-sensitivity polarization measurements for X-ray sources, to discover more about the behaviour of matter under extreme conditions.

The proposals from the science community and the results of the recent CDF studies (in the form of Internal Final Presentations, or IFPs) can be found at the links below. Dedicated Phase 0 reports are in preparation for each of the studies and these will be published at a later stage.

ARIEL Proposal  [pdf, 11 MB] CDF study IFP  [pdf, 6 MB]
THOR  Proposal  [pdf, 22 MB] CDF study IFP  [pdf, 4 MB]
XIPE   Proposal  [pdf, 4 MB] CDF study IFP  [pdf, 7 MB]

The next step is to perform industrial Phase A studies for each of the three candidate missions, with the aim of selecting one mission to continue to Phase B1 after the Mission Selection Review in June 2017. Results of the Phase A studies will be published in the form of so-called Yellow Books around June 2017, following the timeline given in the table below:

Timeline targeted for M4 mission
Phase 0 (ESA internal CDF) June to September 2015
Phase 0 completed End September 2015
ITT for Phase A industrial studies October 2015
Phase A kick-off March 2016
Mission Selection Review completed (ARIEL, THOR, XIPE) April 2017
Selection of M4 mission (SPC) June 2017
Phase B1 kick-off of the selected M4 mission July 2017
Phase B1 completed September 2018
Mission Adoption Review September/October 2018
Adoption of the M4 mission (SPC) November 2018
Phase B2/C/D kick-off July 2019
Launch 2026


Last Update: 1 September 2019
14-Jul-2024 19:51 UT

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