Press Release

Call for Exploration Technology Proposals

By SpaceRef Editor
March 11, 2002
Filed under ,

ESA intends to invite tenders for Technology Studies relevant to the Human and Robotic Exploration of the Solar System. For each of the technologies of interest the studies are expected to provide a preliminary assessment of feasibility, cost and schedule of development.
The contracts will be granted in the frame of the ESA General Studies Programme and will help prepare the Aurora Programme. The tenders shall address areas of innovative technologies concerning both the specific aspects of human missions, like Crew, Life support and Health aspects, as well as potential precursor robotic missions (target bodies: Mars, Moon, Near Earth Objects) which will prepare the ground, in the long term, for an international human mission to Mars.

These robotic missions will contribute and demonstrate the technologies needed to put humans on Mars and to return them safely to Earth. Some of the key technologies for a human mission are also very important to the search for life in-site on the red planet and on other Solar System planets and moons. The robotic missions therefore will not only demonstrate specific technologies like soft and precision landing, drilling and sample return, they will also carry sophisticated exobiology payloads and provide answers to some key questions on the origin of life in the Solar System, and possible causes of its extinction.

The reply to the announcement is open to every non-prime* Company, University and Research Institute of the ESA member states and Canada. ESA intends to fund about 20 to 30 of such proposals in the frame of the General Studies Programme. The budget per contract will be limited to 40kEU and the duration of the activity is expected to be 4 months.

The proposals shall include a discussion on the application perspectives for the technology proposed, a comparison with the current alternatives and a strategy for further development or marketing, if applicable. The innovative content of the proposal shall be highlighted and well documented. Proposals overlapping similar on going activities in ESA will be rejected.

As a guideline in the preparation of the proposals please note that, in the frame of the Aurora programme the major technology streams needed for the human and robotic exploration of the Solar System have been identified in a preliminary way and the relevant information can be found at the following site:

For more information on the call, please refer to the announcement of opportunity published on EMITS under the following reference: AO/1-4141/02/NL/LvH, or go directly to:

* Non-primes are defined as all companies and organisations with the exception of the “Major System Level Integrators” (Astrium, Alcatel and Alenia Spazio)

SpaceRef staff editor.