Washington, Feb 24: NASA has announced to start its next mission in the New Frontiers line - a cost-capped class of $1 billion robotic solar-system explorers - in 2016.
New Frontiers missions are managed by a single principle investigator who is responsible for keeping the mission's development cost under $1 billion.
The cost cap does not include the price of a launch vehicle which is covered under the NASA Launch Services Programme, Spacenews reported.
According to NASA's planetary science chief Jim Green, NASA is also looking ahead to the New Frontiers competition that would begin by 2020.
"Now we are at the point where we can see the New Frontiers programme extending beyond Osiris-Rex," Green told the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), an advisory panel at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
Osiris-Rex (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer) is scheduled for launch in September 2016 to collect and return a sample of the asteroid known as Bennu, the report added.
OPAG was chartered in 2004 to set science priorities for exploration of the outer solar system.
For the fifth New Horizons competition in 2020, NASA will consider all the missions that do not make the cut in the fourth competition that begins in 2016.