The Cosmic Vision is the paraphrasing name given to the roadmap for scientific space based missions of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the time frame between 2015 and 2025. There are currently three selected missions of the programme, Solar Orbiter, Euclid, and JUICE.
The initial call of ideas and concepts was launched in 2004 with a subsequent workshop held in Paris to define more fully the themes of the Vision under the broader headings of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Solar System Exploration and Fundamental Physics.
By early 2006 the formulation for a 10-year plan based around 4 key questions emerged:
- What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life?
- How does the Solar System work?
- What are the fundamental physical laws of the Universe?
- How did the Universe originate and what is it made of?
In March 2007 a call for mission ideas was formally released, which yielded in 19 astrophysics, 12 fundamental physics and 19 solar system mission proposals.
In March 2012 ESA announced it has began working on a series of small science missions. The first winning "S Class" idea is set to receive 50 million euros (£42m) and will be readied for launch in 2017.
Large missions (L)
L-class projects will often be carried out in collaboration with other partners and should have an ESA cost not exceeding 900 million euros. However, in April 2011 it became clear that budget pressures in the US meant that an expected collaboration with NASA on the L1 mission would not be practical; so the down-selection was delayed and the missions re-scoped on the assumption of ESA lead and some limited international participation 
The first large mission has been selected:
- L1, JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer), a selected mission to the Jupiter system (with heritage from Laplace); launch planned for 2022.
Medium-size missions (M)
M-class projects will usually be relatively stand-alone ESA projects. The two first M-class missions, M1 and M2, have been selected:
- M1, Solar Orbiter, an adopted mission for close-up observations of the sun; launch planned in 2017.
- M2, Euclid, a selected mission to study dark energy and dark matter; launch planned for 2020.
The third M-class mission, M3, is planned for launch in 2024. ESA released a call for missions proposals for M3 in July 2010. On February 25, 2011, ESA announced the selection of four missions to undergo an initial assessment phase. In addition, Plato, which was in competition for M1/M2, is allowed to compete for M3. The five M3 candidate missions are:
- EChO (Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory), a proposed mission to study exoplanet atmospheres
- LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing), a proposed mission to study neutron stars and black holes by detecting their very rapid X-ray variability
- MarcoPolo-R, a proposed mission to return a sample from a near-Earth asteroid
- Plato, a proposed mission to search for new exoplanets and measure stellar oscillations
- STE-QUEST (Space-Time Explorer and Quantum Equivalence Principle Space Test), a proposed mission devoted to precise measurements of general relativity effects.
Small missions (S)
S-class missions are intended to have a cost to ESA not exceeding 50 million euros. A first call for mission proposals was issued in March 2012. Approximately 70 letters of Intent were received. In October 2012 the first S-class missions was selected:
Missions of Opportunity
Occasionally ESA makes contributions to space missions led by another space agency. There is currently one candidate for such a mission of opportunity within Cosmic Vision:
- "Esa to start mini space mission series". 12 March 2012.
- "New approach for L-class mission candidates".
- http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM9I4QWJ1H_index_0.html ESA news on selection of JUICE
- "Cosmic Vision Call for proposals; missions selected". ESA. 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity for a launch in 2022 ESA D/SRE/DTS/FF/ve/26771 (2010-07-29)
- Four candidates selected for the next medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision (2011-02-25)
- http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50119 ESA Call for S-class missions
- ESA Science Programme’s new small satellite will study super-Earths
- http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=105 ESA Information page