Mandatory ESA programmes All Member States of the European Space Agency (ESA) contribute financially to the mandatory programmes and general services of ESA in proportion to their gross domestic product (GDP). The major mandatory programmes are the: Science Programme General Studies Programme (GSP) Technology Research Programme (TRP) Science Programme The Science Programme is the backbone and a strategic asset of ESA and tries to answer the following questions: What are the conditions for life and planetary formation? How does the solar system work? What are the fundamental laws of the Universe? How did the Universe begin and what is it made of? Its mission is to strengthen European competences in space sciences and their applications, to ensure that European industry is efficient and to bring together the national programmes of the Member States. The Science Programme is implemented via the Cosmic Vision long term plan focusing on the following themes: Planets & Life, Solar System, Fundamental Laws, Universe and Hot & Energetic Universe. The Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 is the current cycle of ESA LTP for space science missions (S-, M-, L-class) which are designated, implemented and operated by ESA. General Studies Programme (GSP) The main role of the General Studies Programme (GSP) is to act as a "think tank", laying the groundwork for ESA's future missions. Its objectives are to: contribute to the formulation of the overall ESA strategy; study the feasibility for the selection of new mission concepts; prepare/demonstrate the case for approval and funding of new optional projects/programmes; support the evolution of ESA by analysing and testing new working methodologies. GSP is organised around 3 domains: mission assessment studies: to perform mission feasibility studies, typically up to Phase-A level, which allowESA Member States and the scientific community to select new mission concepts; interdisciplinary activities: to enable unique opportunities for inter-directorate work; strategy studies: to serve as a corporate "strategic think tank": the actions within the programme contribute to the formulation of the overall ESA strategy. Technology Research Programme (TRP) ESA's Basic Technology Research Programme (TRP) enables researchers to explore new ideas from the very earliest stages. The TRP is the only ESA technology programme that supports all Agency directorates across the entire spectrum of technical disciplines, providing the technological nucleus for most future developments. By testing the feasibility of prospective technologies, the TRP gives Europe the ability to look ahead and plan and define future space missions and activities. Long-term planning is inherently risky when it comes to space, but the TRP reduces the degree of risk by demonstrating the workability of a given technology long before a mission is based around it. Procurements plans are elaborated annually, with 100% contracts offered to industry and universities on an open competitive basis.