Announcement of opportunity: ISS Experiments relevant to study of Global Climate Change
The ESA Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations (HSO), in coordination with the ESA Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes (EOP), releases an Announcement of Opportunity for International Space Station (ISS) Experiments relevant to the study of Global Climate Change.
The assembly of ISS has been completed and the station operates with a crew of six astronauts. A large variety of research activities are being routinely performed onboard the ISS by ESA and the other International Partners. Historically, the main focus of European research has been in the area of life and physical sciences, taking advantage of the microgravity and exposure to the space environment provided by ISS. Furthermore, ISS can also provide a multiuser platform for studies in astrophysics, solar science, fundamental physics, Earth science and climate change relevant studies . In addition the ESA Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations issued a call for ideas (CFI) to assess the potential interest in the use of ISS as a testbed for technologies needed for future exploration missions. In March 2011 the extension of ISS Exploitation until 2020 was decided. In view of these perspectives it is important to solicit proposals for new experiments and applications of ISS to exploit the full potential of this unique space research platform over the coming years.
Use of the ISS to supplement ongoing space-based studies of Global Climate Change
The consequences of global changes in the Earth’s environment are a major challenge for humanity in the coming decades and centuries. Various natural physical processes modify the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces on short and long term scales. In the past 150 years human activities have resulted in significant changes in many aspects of Earth’s environment, including increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, modification of the nitrogen & phosphorous cycle and major alterations of land use (e.g. deforestation). It is crucial that we understand the interaction of anthropogenic environmental changes with natural changes to predict future changes in Earth’s environment. In turn this information will assist sustainable development in relation to human activities, while minimising degradation of the environment and limiting the vulnerability of society to global climate changes.
ESA currently has a large programme of current and planned Earth observation missions that support studies of global climate change. This includes ESA’s Living Planet Programme and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Programme (jointly carried out with the European Union) and ESA’s Climate Change Initiative. Each of the individual satellite missions carries a dedicated suite of instruments to address specific mission objectives.
Potentially, the ISS can be used as an additional observation platform for instruments and experiments relevant to global change studies, supplementing ongoing and planned observations from dedicated satellite platforms. The European Columbus module has an External Payloads Facility (CEPF) which has four payload attachment sites on the end of the module, permitting nadir, zenith and side (limb) viewing. The Cupola module, launched in early 2010, has multiple windows and will provide a location to operate internally mounted instruments. An ISS Earth sciences instrument already under development by ESA is the Atmosphere Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) for Columbus, planned to be deployed on the ISS in 2014.
To assess the level of interest in the European and international research community in deploying remote-sensing instruments on the ISS for global change studies a joint Call for Ideas (CFI) was issued by ESA’s Directorates of Human Spaceflight and Operations and Earth Observation in October 2009. A total of 45 proposed ideas were received, with many promising concepts proposed. This input confirmed a high level of interest in the use of ISS for climate change studies and several interesting thematic areas for experiments were identified. Therefore, it was decided to proceed with the release of a dedicated announcement of opportunity for experiments on climate change relevant studies using the ISS.
Announcement of Opportunity
The Announcement of Opportunity solicits proposals for flight experiments relevant to climate change studies using the ISS as a platform. Proposed projects should be consistent with the overall research goals of the ESA Earth Observation programmes and should complement on-going and planned climate change and Earth observations studies from dedicated satellite, airborne and terrestrial platforms. There is the possibility to propose both experiments which would need a normal full space instrument development schedule as well as “fast track” experiments, which could be potentially developed and flown in a short time frame (<3 years). Fast track experiments need to have a high technology readiness level, limited ISS resource requirements and most likely mounted internally viewing through ISS windows, such as those in the Cupola.
Proposals which pass peer review selection will undergo a feasibility study (phase A), the results of which will be used to prioritise projects. Final selection and development and implementation of flight instruments (phase B/C/D/E) is contingent on available budget and ISS resources.
Proposal instructions, forms and supporting documents can be downloaded from the menu on the right hand side of this page.
Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent: 9 September 2011
Proposers workshop (at ESA/ESTEC): 7 October 2011
Deadline for submission of proposals: 4 November 2011
Point of contact
Tel: +31 71 565 4059