A staple of the ESA's Science Doctrine is the Cosmic Vision programme, a series of space science missions chosen by the ESA to launch through competitions, similar to NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers programmes. It succeeds the Horizon 2000 and Horizon 2000+ programmes which launched notable missions such as Huygens, Rosetta and Gaia. Each space science mission are divided into two categories: "Sun and Solar System", missions studying the solar system, and "Astrophysics", missions studying interstellar astronomy. A similarly operated programme focused on Earth observation, known as the Living Planet Programme, has launched various "Earth Explorers" such as GOCE and Swarm, which serve many forms of Geoscience individually. A number of missions by the ESA have also launched and operated outside of a canonical programme, as is the case with missions such as Giotto, Ulysses, and Mars Express.
Artists' impression of Rosetta, a "cornerstone" mission of the Horizon 2000 program originally formulated in the 1980s.
Earth Explorer 5 – ADM-Aeolus, launched August 2018, operational – Meteorology mission, performed by a spacecraft equipped to create global wind component profiles to aid more advanced weather forecasting.
Earth Explorer 6 – EarthCARE, launching June 2022, future – Joint ESA-JAXA meteorology and climatology mission, aimed at the characterization of clouds and aerosols, along with measurements of reflected and emitted radiation from Earth's surface.
SSETI Express, launched October 2005 – Student demonstration mission, sponsored by the ESA Education Office, which launched three CubeSats to take pictures of the Earth and serve as a radio transponder.
MTG, launching ~2023 onward – Joint EUMETSAT-ESA meteorology mission to launch the third generation of Meteosat satellites.
Hera, launching October 2024 – European component of AIDA, a joint NASA-ESA asteroid deflection test mission, aimed at studying the effects of an asteroid impact using 65803 Didymos's moon as a target.
Lunar Lander, proposed launch in 2018 – Demonstration mission aimed at testing new technologies in lunar landing, including autonomous redirects. Project put on hold due to lack of financial support, as of 2012.
EChO – Space observatory mission aimed at exoplanetary science, employing high resolution, multi-wavelength spectroscopic observations. Finalist for the M3 slot in the Cosmic Vision programme, but lost to PLATO. Succeeded by ARIEL as the M4 mission.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Horizon 2000 programme and Horizon 2000+ programme.
European Space Agency Cosmos portal – Official website of the ESA Science Directorate
ESA Science and Technology – Scientific community portal for ESA missions
ESA's Cosmic Vision – The current ESA science mission program