Outer Planet Flagship Mission

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One of the latest big probe missions, Cassini, wrapped in 2017 having lasted decades and orbited planet Saturn for many years

The Outer Planet Flagship Mission is a type of NASA program to research larger size missions to the outer solar system, and some examples of this type of mission are Galileo or Cassini-Huygens.

In 2013 after encounter some technical issues and funding in the early 2010s, development was paused although overall research continued.[1] One issue is the other big NASA missions such as in astrophysics and another is availability of RTG's.

One proposal was a joint mission between NASA and ESA to send a probe to study the icy satellites of the outer Solar System. There were two primary candidate missions under study: Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) and Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM). On February 18, 2009 NASA announced that both missions can proceed forward, but the EJSM is to be the first, departing Earth in 2020 and arriving at Jupiter in 2026. The Titan mission is to be launched later.[2]

The Europa mission concept has since changed, with the Europa Clipper mission to be launched by NASA, with a target launch date of 2022,[3] and a separate European mission Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE). The proposed Titan mission is not currently being developed nor scheduled.

A similar class of mission is the ESA L-Class, or large class mission and also sometimes called a flagship mission.[4] In that case it is open to other types mission besides outer planet probes.[5]

Within NASA's overall planning, the outer planets are just one subset of several other planning areas including astrophysics, Earth science, heliophysics, and planetary science overall.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No Outer Planets Flagship Mission on Horizon, but Planetary R&A OK Says NASA's Jim Green". spacepolicyonline.com. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  2. ^ News flash: Jupiter flagship mission selected to launch first
  3. ^ Wall, Mike (5 March 2014). "NASA hopes to launch ambitious mission to icy Jupiter moon". Space.com. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Future Missions Department". sci.esa.int. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  6. ^ "Should NASA keep flying flagship missions? A new report weighs in". Retrieved 2018-10-31.

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