Ariel Mission Completes its Preliminary Design Review
Ariel, the European Space Agency’s next-generation mission to observe the chemical make-up of distant extrasolar planets, has passed a major milestone after successfully completing its Payload Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The successful completion of the Payload PDR marks a crucial step forward for Ariel, demonstrating that the mission’s payload design meets all the required technical and scientific specifications, and no showstoppers were found for the foreseen launch in 2029.
The Ariel consortium payload team prepared 179 technical documents and addressed 364 questions (RIDs) for a panel of ESA experts, who evaluated the feasibility, performance, and robustness of the payload design. The review scrutinised every aspect of the proposed payload, to ensure that the designed systems meet the technical, scientific, and operational requirements of the mission. In May 2023 the ESA review board accepted that all the objectives had been completed, and confirmed the successful closure of the Ariel Payload PDR.
As a result of this major achievement, Ariel’s payload critical technology is now considered at Technical Readiness Level 6, indicating that the mission can now proceed to payload CDR (Critical Design Review) and begin to manufacture its first prototype models.