Insight into origin of space missions
Where do the detailed analyses underpinning new ESA space missions arise from? The Agency’s future-oriented basic activities support the development of new concepts and technologies for space.
This vital work enables ESA to peer beyond the immediate planning horizon, to prepare for the future of space activities, including feasibility studies of new ESA mission proposals, as well as broader interdisciplinary technical and scientific studies.
The new timeline featured on ESA’s General Studies Programme (GSP) website show how this process works in practice, featuring ESA current and future missions and the kind of studies that have contributed to defining them.
“Basic activities have always been the foundation of future ESA missions, as well as the starting point for new interdisciplinary activities,” explains the timeline’s creator, GSP Officer Moritz Fontaine.
“Our updated website illustrates how intertwined these studies are with every ESA Directorate and their missions.”
These involve all type of future missions, from science and exploration missions, to instruments and tools for Earth observation missions, navigation and telecommunication concepts, to launch systems and operational concepts.
These projects included, for instance, the idea of a mission to remove space debris (now under development as e.Deorbit), while next-decade asteroids missions and human landings on the Moon are now under study.
The website also includes a searchable index (the GSP library) of more than 1200 past and current studies, also categorised in terms of application, technology and destination. The data are available as a timeline, to show the span of studies chronologically.
Together with the dashboard providing the status of future and running activities, and short summaries of the projects, the website provides full visibility of the status and progress of the GSP's activities.