ESA research announcements are the official access routes for institutional users to use research facilities managed by ESA's Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration. The Science Department of ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Exploration Directorate recently undertook an extensive exercise to create a new strategy, focusing on a set of newly-defined goals to positively shape its research programme and maximise research.
Scientists are strongly encouraged to address at least one the topics highlighted in the document above in their proposal. The following continuously-open research announcement opportunities are available:
SIRIUS – An isolation and confinement programme
This opportunity is soliciting human research experiments in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and immunology to be implemented during two upcoming SIRIUS (Scientific International Research In Unique terrestrial Station) missions. One 8-month isolation and one 12-month isolation mission will be conducted at the Ground-based Facility Complex (NEK) at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP) in Moscow, Russia. Experiments solicited through this opportunity can make optimal use of these long-duration isolation and confinement studies, contributing to human long-duration missions beyond low Earth orbit and deeper into our Solar System.
Topical Team opportunity
ESA has a long history of supporting so-called Topical Teams to enhance European collaboration and focus on research. Topical Teams, depending on their subject, include experts from European universities, research entities and industries who together formulate succinct and relevant proposals for comprehensive research. Support to new Topical Teams in the “Science in the Space Environment (SciSpacE)” programme will continue and expanded to multidisciplinary research to increase international collaboration.
The Bremen drop tower is one of the tallest and best-known drop tower facilities in Europe. At the heart of the facility is the 146-m tall tower surrounded by support facilities that include control rooms, laboratories and workshops. Capsules are released from a height of 120 m offering 4.74 s of microgravity experiment time. The capsule experiences a deceleration of up to 50 g after the experiment is completed. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the unique capabilities of the drop tower.
Ground-based facilities programme
ESA's ground-based facilities programme is a highly valuable low-cost tool allowing scientists to push forward their understanding of basic science aspects, preparing for more complex spaceflight experiments and advancing human and biological aspects for exploration. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the capabilities of the facilities in this programme.
Investigating biological effects of space radiation
Radiation in space is considered a potential ‘show-stopper’ for human exploration of space. ESA' programme "Investigating biological effects of space radiation" (IBER) was formed to advance knowledge that is needed sustain long-duration human exploration missions. This continuously-open research announcement scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the capabilities of the facilities that are part of IBER.
Microgravity Application Promotion
ESA has a strong motivation to expand its activities by involving European industry in its projects, to move from fundamental research towards applied projects for the benefit of society and our economy. Through this continuously-open research announcement, the Microgravity Application Promotion (MAP) stimulates innovation and scientific research in spaceflight-analogue environments to support industry in a mutually-beneficial environment.
Parabolic flights are the only sub-orbital carriers that allow scientists to run biological, biomedical and physiological experiments in microgravity or other (reduced) gravity levels. In addition to testing facilities before use in space, parabolic flights validate operational and experimental procedures, and train astronauts for future spaceflight. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the the parabolic flight aircraft.
Sounding rockets launch experiments to the edge of space before falling back to Earth. These flights can carry 100-kg experiments up to 750 km high with up to 13 minutes of microgravity. Through this continuously-open research announcement, scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals that use the sounding rocket launches that participate in this programme.
Investigating biological effects of space radiation (IBER)
European Scientists are invited to apply with experiment proposals to make use of the GSI accelerator facility. The final goal is to address the effect of space radiation, considered a potential ‘show-stopper’ for human exploration of space, on biological systems. Experiments solicited through this opportunity shall make optimal use of the cutting edge facility offered and should address any of the points of the SciSpacE research roadmap.