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The ESA Director of Science solicits the scientific community in ESA’s Member States for proposals for both a “Fast” mission opportunity (to be launched in the 2030-2031 timeframe) and for a “Medium” mission opportunity (to be launched around 2037). The new long-term scientific plan Voyage 2050, for the Science Programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), has been issued in June 2021, following a broad consultation of the scientific community and a peer review process, with final recommendations issued by an independent scientific Senior Committee. The plan includes three Large (L) missions in selected science themes (Moons of the Giant Planets, From Temperate Exoplanets to the Milky Way, and New Physical Probes of the Early Universe) and a set of Medium (M) and Fast (F) missions. The definition of the F and M space missions is based on a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process. Even though the Voyage 2050 plan identifies a set of possible themes for the Medium missions, proposals in all fields of space science will be considered, with no prejudice.
Phase-1 proposals must be submitted electronically (in pdf format) by 12:00 (noon) CET on 14 February 2022. Details of the required content for Phase-1 proposals are given in the Call for a Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA’s Science Programme document.
Opportunity for those within the UK Solar Physics Community interested in submitting a proposal towards this call. There has been a view for many years that the breadth and depth of the solar and space plasma physics communities within the UK would greatly benefit from consolidating our wide ranging science interests into a bespoke set of science mission designs, suitable for responding to the fast turnaround F and M class ESA calls. In designing the next generation space missions, we may be best served by coming together and coordinating as a community, or at least identifying who may be interested in submitting mission ideas towards this call. ESA will look more favourably on proposals which have obtained broad community support and this may even lead to M-class missions addressing fundamental science in our subject area. Currently, there is an ongoing parallel effort to discuss community coordination and planning towards this call via the European Solar and Space Physics Community forum and an online briefing and discussion meeting will be arranged likely for the afternoon of Monday 20 December (time and date TBC) to discuss key aspects of this call and how to attempt a coordination over proposal preparation.
If you are interested in proposing a mission under this call, or if you are part of an international team planning to submit towards this call and / or you would generally like to discuss mission proposals as community, please respond to Eamon Scullion at firstname.lastname@example.org *before Friday 17 December* and he will be able to update you on the invitation to the meeting on Monday 20 December (TBC).