Reports for Mission Selection
The Six Candidate Earth Explorer Missions (ESA SP-1279)

The ESA Living Planet Programme includes two types of complementary user driven missions: the research-oriented Earth Explorer missions and the operational service oriented Earth Watch missions. These missions are implemented through the Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP) and the Earth Watch Programme, where the Earth Explorer missions are completely covered by the EOEP.

Earth Explorer missions are divided into two classes, with Core missions being larger missions addressing complex issues of wide scientific interest, and Opportunity missions, which are smaller in terms of cost to ESA and address more limited issues. Both types of missions address the research objectives set out in the Living Planet Programme document (ESA SP-1227 1998), which describes the plans for the Agency’s strategy for Earth Observation in the post-2000 time frame. All Earth Explorer missions are proposed, defined, evaluated and recommended by the scientific community.

Following a call for Core mission ideas in 2000 and selection of five of the ten proposals for pre-feasibility study, three of the candidates, EarthCARE, SPECTRA and WALES, were chosen for feasibility study in November 2001. In response to a call for Opportunity mission proposals in 2001, which resulted in 25 full proposals being submitted by early 2002, three mission candidates, ACE+, EGPM and SWARM, were also chosen for feasibility study. The Phase-A studies for all six Earth Explorer candidate missions are being finalised by early 2004, forming the basis for the Reports for Mission Selection for all six candidate missions.

(click on the mission to download the relevant report in PDF)

1 EarthCARE – Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer

2 SPECTRA - Surface Processes and Ecosystem Changes Through Response Analysis

3 WALES - Water Vapour Lidar Experiment in Space

4 ACE+ - Atmosphere and Climate Explorer

5 EGPM - European Contribution to Global Precipitation Measurement

6 Swarm - The Earth’s Magnetic Field and Environment Explorers

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