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credit: EADS Astrium / caption: this is from Astrium’s previous work on ESA transportation studies

The European Space Agency is to fund parallel industrial studies to examine how ESA can contribute to international human space exploration over the next 20 years with particular focus on risks, life cycle costs, enabling technologies and “strategic value”. The total worth of the industrial work will be more than €500,000 ($699,000)

Bids have to be in by 8 March and the studies have to be completed by the end of 2010, beginning of 2011. In late 2011 ESA’s member states will make major decisions on Europe’s rocket and Automated Transfer Vehicle development

Go through to the extended portion of this blog post to read the study abstract and find the link to the study’s ESA procurement webpage

[T]he European Transportation and Human Exploration Preparatory Activities Programme…includes a programme element for…scenario development [that] will address future European contributions to extended human operations in Low Earth Orbit…international human missions to the Moon and preparatory activities for human missions to Mars. It will analyse the time horizon up to 2030…For each identified scenario an assessment of the life cycle costs, risk and strategic value for Europe will be performed…[S]elected scenario(s) will then be consolidated in Phase 2 leading to the development of a Strategic Implementation Plan by the end of 2010/early 2011. The scenario analysis will be support by industrial studies. The objectives of these studies are to conceptually define potential European contributions, assess risks, life cycle costs and enabling technologies… Two parallel running studies will be procured in open competition to obtain competitive inputs, in particular with respect to the lifecycle costs…

Go here for the procurement page for this study