The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the first of its “Scout” missions which aim to use small sats to prove scientific concepts for the benefit of its Earth Observation Programme. This mission is known as Earth System Processes Monitored in the Atmosphere by a Constellation of CubeSats, or ESP-MACCS. It is hoped the Scout mission idea can be realised with a budget of EUR€30 million.
The award has gone to a team headed by small sat manufacturer GomSpace, Denmark, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL Space), United Kingdom. The team will develop a mission proposal around using three 12U CubeSats to study atmospheric processes in the upper troposphere and stratosphere.
The full mission proposal is expected to be agreed by the team and ESA in Q1 2021.