Enabling & Support

Announcement of opportunity #4: Lunar Cubesats for Exploration (LUCE)

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Preparing for the Future / Discovery and Preparation

The proposed activity aims to generate a number of Cubesat / Smallsat mission and system concepts, including operational approaches, platform designs and instrument concepts, which can support ESAs lunar exploration objectives and respond to flight opportunitiesin a timely way. Missions shall address exploration measurement and/or technology demonstration objectives (e.g. lunar surface sensing, volatile prospecting, communications and localisation techniques). Specifically the activity shall:· Generate lunar exploration Cubesat/Smallsat mission concepts, demonstrating what can be done to support exploration objectives· Engage and bring together the European Cubesat community with the lunar exploration science and technology community· Identify key platform and instrument technology needs and drivers for lunar Cubesats· Support the European community to be able to respond to future lunar Cubesat opportunities (e.g. accommodation onboard future Orion/MPCV flights or those provided by commercial operators)The activity follows the General Studies Programme SysNova scheme whereby several competing concepts addressing a specific technical challenge are selected for further study. For this Sysnova AO, up to 4 parallel study contracts may be awarded to the associated academic/industrial teams depending on the quality of proposals. The results of the parallel studies are then evaluated by an ESA panel, with the winner being given the opportunity to advance their design in more detail via CDF sessions at ESTEC.