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Call for proposals: Earth Explorer Opportunity Mission

As part of its Earth Observation Envelope Programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) announces an opportunity for scientists from the Earth Observation communities in ESA Member States and Canada to make proposals for missions to be evaluated as a potential Earth Explorer Opportunity Mission.

These missions are intended to be used to conduct research in the field of Earth Observation and/or to demonstrate the potential of new innovative Earth Observation techniques of relevance to both the scientific and the applications communities.

The Earth Observation Envelope Programme is a rolling programme designed to underpin European efforts in Earth observation from space. The Earth Explorer element of the programme consists of a series of space missions addressing critical Earth science issues. In the past, six missions have been selected for implementation; namely, three Earth Explorer Core Missions, GOCE (Gravity and Ocean Circulation Explorer), ADM-Aeolus (Doppler Wind Lidar), EarthCARE (Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer); and three Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions, CryoSat (Polar Ice Monitoring), SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) and Swarm (Earth’s Magnetic Field and Environment Explorer). In addition, as a result of the evaluation of responses to the call for Earth Explorer Core Mission ideas in 2005, and the recent down-selection in 2009, the following three Earth Explorer Core mission candidates are currently entering studies at Phase-A level: BIOMASS, CoReH2O and PREMIER.

The motivation behind this Call is the Agency’s wish to involve the scientific community as far as possible in determining the content of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme. The Agency wants to achieve a clear appreciation of the science community’s views on what missions will give the highest scientific return.

Taking into account the experience from previous calls and in line with the spirit of the programme, the Agency is soliciting mission proposals for implementation as the Earth Explorer-8 Opportunity mission with a ceiling industrial cost of 100 MEURO at 2009 economic conditions.

A response to the Call may be made by European or Canadian scientists or teams of scientists, where proposing teams also may include scientists from non-ESA Member States.

The results of the evaluation of proposals will be presented to the Programme Board for Earth Observation (PB-EO) in November 2010.

Overall schedule

Release of the Call for Proposals: 2 October 2009
Deadline for receipt of Letter of Intent: 1 December 2009
Deadline for receipt of full Proposals: 1 June 2010
Announcement of evaluation results: 25 November 2010