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ESA announces revised science mission plan
Posted: Tue, May 28, 2002, 8:51 AM ET (1251 GMT)
ESA The European Space Agency will restructure a number of planned space science missions and indefinitely postpone a Venus mission, according to a revamped mission plan released on Monday. The "Cosmic Vision" proposal released Monday was created after ESA's science program received less funding than planned when the agency's budget was set in November. The plan avoids canceling any previously-announced mission, although several will undergo major changes. BepiColumbo, a Mercury orbiter, and Solar Orbiter will be combined into a single activity with international cooperation. Eddington, originally intended to be a "standby" mission in the event another mission was cancelled, was included as a full-fledged mission, but redesigned to use the same spacecraft bus design as Herschel/Planck. Other missions will be grouped together to use similar technologies and the same engineering teams. One proposed mission, Venus Express, was "withdrawn", according to ESA; the specific reasons for this withdrawal, nor when, or if, it might be reintroduced, were not announced. ESA acknowledged that the new program increased programmatic risk but was necessary to make the most of limited resources.
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