Aurora Technology has both engineers and scientists supporting ESA's Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration. We are contributing to the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 via various means as an integrated part of the Advanced Studies and Technology Preparation Division.
In preparation for the Cosmic Vision call for proposals in 2007, Aurora had been supporting the Technology Reference Studies which provided a means to identify the types of technologies likely to be of relevance to the wide range of science missions of the future. Aurora assisted to the evaluation of the 50 mission concept proposals received in 2007 which resulted in 5 M-class and 3 L-class missions being selected for assessment studies. The assessment studies were performed together with industry and in February 2010 EUCLID, PLATO and Solar Orbiter were approved by the ESA's Science Programme Committee to enter the definition phase.
Aurora in particular is supporting the payload issues for two of the three L-class missions EJSM/Laplace a mission to Jupiter and IXO the next generation X-ray telescope. The assessment studies for the L-class missions will be concluded in the summer 2010 and a first down selection will be done early 2011.
We are also supporting the preparation of the next Cosmic Vision call for ideas (M-Class Missions, expected Q4 2010) by participating in CDF studies on Planetary Entry Probes to enhance ESA knowledge of entry and descent conditions at outer Planets. This will provide the scientific community with a basis for future mission proposals and improves ESA's technical preparation to evaluate future mission proposals.
Exploration is another focus and we are also supporting the development of new technologies and system studies for future missions to Mars within the MREP programme with particular focus on the means to capture a sample without contaminating it to bring it back to Earth (Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission with 2022 and 2024 as expected launch windows).
Another aspect of our support is managing the overview of the technology status and organizing which technologies need to be progressed via the TechMAT tool that we developed. We are also involved in monitoring ESA contracts with space research institutes and industry to further enhance the usability of technologies in space.