The laid out plans for Discovery and New Frontiers missions over the coming decade. The announcement of opportunity (AO) that begins the selection process for the next Discovery mission should be in sometime in 2013 (~36 months after the previous AO). After that, AO's should be issued every 24 months. That will mean the selection of 4-5 new Discovery missions over the coming decade, including the the selection in progress. New Frontiers AOs will continue to be issued every five years, with the next AO due around 2015.
Much of the presentation repeated information that I've presented in previous posts on the ramifications of the Decadal Survey's recommendations and NASA's budget. A few tidbits from the presentation are:
- From the presentation, it appears that the selection of three finalists for next Discovery mission will be in April/May. Selection of the next New Frontiers mission apparently will be in May/June.
- Planning of a new joint ESA/NASA Mars 2018 rover and sample cache mission is underway. A key decision by ESA on whether to proceed or not will occur at a meeting on May 26/27. Space News has an article on the early thinking behind a redesigned mission. From the article, it appears that NASA would contribute $1.2B to the joint mission. With ESA's contribution, this would be a mission on the financial scale of the Mars Science Laboratory planned for launch this year.
- Restart of plutonium-238 production was not authorized in the continuing resolution funding NASA for the rest of FY11.
- NASA's planetary science FY11 budget PSD likely to be around $1.4B versus the President's request of 1.486B
- Technical studies for a smaller Europa mission will be done over the next two years. Such a mission presumably would fly only if the budget picture improves sufficiently to add a Flagship mission to the budget.