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  ESA's ExoMars exploration missions (2016-18)

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Author Topic:   ESA's ExoMars exploration missions (2016-18)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2009 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ESA release
ESA Member States give green light to ExoMars Programme

ESA's Council yesterday gave the go-ahead to proceed with the implementation of the ExoMars Programme. This decision paves the way for two Mars exploration missions in cooperation with NASA in 2016 and 2018.

The ExoMars Programme aims to investigate the martian environment, particularly astrobiological issues and to develop and demonstrate new technologies for planetary exploration with the long-term view of a future Mars sample return mission in the 2020s.


The ExoMars Programme. Credit: ESA

Two missions are foreseen within the ExoMars Programme: one consisting of an Orbiter plus an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator (to be launched in 2016) and the other consisting of two rovers (to be launched in 2018).

ESA's Council of Ministers approved the subscription of 850 million euro to the ExoMars programme at a meeting held on 16 and 17 December at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.

Following the decision, David Southwood, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration said: "This marks an important moment for Europe in its steps towards space exploration on the world scale. We have been to the planets before, sure. But now we have a plan for exploration ahead to build our technical capability and explore Mars in a long-term partnership."

Eleven of ESA's 18 Member States are participating in the ExoMars Programme: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, plus Canada.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-06-2012 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BBC News reports that the ExoMars cooperation between NASA and ESA is nearing its collapse.
NASA has told ESA it is now highly unlikely it will be able to contribute to the endeavours, which envision an orbiting satellite and a big roving robot being sent to the Red Planet.

The US has yet to make a formal statement on the matter but budget woes are thought to lie behind its decision.

Europe is now banking on a Russian partnership to keep the missions alive.

A public announcement by NASA of its withdrawal from the ExoMars programme, as it is known in Europe, will probably come once President Obama's 2013 Federal Budget Request is submitted.

This request, expected in the coming days, will give the US space agency a much clearer view of how much money it has to implement its various projects.

"The Americans have indicated that the possibility of them participating is now low - very low. It's highly unlikely," said Alvaro Gimenez, ESA's director of science.

"They are interested, they know it's a very good option for them - but they have difficulties putting these missions in the budget," he told BBC News.

"We have to wait for the Americans to have a definitive say, but we also have to study alternatives."

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 02-13-2012 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reports that the European Space Agency will attempt to push ahead with their ExoMars missions to Mars in NASA's absence by reinforcing their cooperation with Russia.
With NASA's fiscal-year 2013 budget now saying formally what had been whispered for weeks — the U.S. agency is pulling out entirely of a planned 2016 mission and cannot commit to the follow-on 2018 mission — the European Space Agency finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

The agency does not want to end industrial work on the two missions and lose its past investment. Delaying the launches to 2018 and 2020 is also rejected because “it would mean keeping industrial teams together for two additional years, and cost a lot more money,” ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain said.

But moving forward likely will mean ESA needs to find extra money for a project that has been unable to complete its funding despite more than three years of effort. ESA has rounded up 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) in support for ExoMars, led by Italy. The mission, as designed with NASA’s involvement, was estimated to cost ESA 1 billion euros.

See here for discussion of NASA's Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-06-2012 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
RIA Novosti reports that Roscosmos has agreed on Russia's participation in ESA's ExoMars.
Roscosmos and ESA chiefs Vladimir Popovkin and Jean-Jacques Dordain met in Moscow on Friday.

"The sides consider this project feasible and promising," Popovkin's spokeswoman Anna Vedishcheva said. "The sides are to sign the deal by year-end."

A Russian space industry source earlier said that the final agreement on Russia's participation in ExoMars is expected to be signed in November "and by this date the sides should confirm their financing."

SkyMan1958
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posted 11-21-2012 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the BBC: European Space Agency member states have approved the agreement that would see Russia take significant roles in Red Planet missions in 2016 and 2018.
For a while, it looked as though the ventures, known as ExoMars, might have to be cancelled. But Russian desire to pick up many of the elements dropped by the US means ExoMars is now on a much surer footing.

ESA member states indicated their happiness with the cooperation text on Monday. All that remains is for the documentation to be signed by both parties.

This is likely to happen before the end of the year.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-16-2013 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
ExoMars: ESA and Roscosmos set for Mars missions

ESA and the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, have signed a formal agreement to work in partnership on the ExoMars programme towards the launch of two missions in 2016 and 2018.

Establishing whether life ever existed on Mars is one of the outstanding scientific questions of our time and the highest scientific priority of the ExoMars programme.

The partners have agreed a balanced sharing of responsibilities for the different mission elements. ESA will provide the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) in 2016, and the carrier and rover in 2018.

Roscosmos will be responsible for the 2018 descent module and surface platform, and will provide launchers for both missions. Both partners will supply scientific instruments and will cooperate closely in the scientific exploitation of the missions.

ExoMars will also demonstrate core technologies under development by European industry such as landing, roving, drilling and sample preparation that are an essential part of paving the way for the next big step in the robotic exploration of Mars: a sample-return mission.

The 2016 mission has two major ESA elements: TGO and EDM. TGO will search for evidence of methane and other atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes. It will also serve as a data relay for the 2018 mission. EDM will land on Mars to prove key technologies for the 2018 mission.

In 2018, the ExoMars rover, to be provided by ESA, will search the planet's surface for signs of life, past and present. It will be the first Mars rover able to drill to depths of 2 m, collecting samples that have been shielded from the harsh conditions of the surface, where radiation and oxidants can destroy organic materials.

The rover will be delivered by a Russian descent module that includes a surface platform equipped with additional scientific instruments.

Today, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and Head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin met at ESA Headquarters in Paris to sign an agreement that seals ExoMars as a partnership between the two space agencies.

"This is a momentous occasion for the ExoMars programme that will see industry and scientists from Europe and Russia working together on these two exciting missions, which will develop new technologies that will demonstrate the competitiveness of European industry, be important for preparing a solid participation of ESA in future international exploration missions and address the key question of whether life ever arose on Mars," says Jean-Jacques Dordain.

"It has been a long way, we have performed a large amount of work together. The ExoMars programme is to become the second large project after Soyuz in Kourou," says Vladimir Popovkin.

"It confirms again that projects of such tremendous scale have to be implemented through international cooperation. The scientific data that we are going to obtain during all the planned missions are important for the worldwide community."

NASA will also deliver important contributions to ExoMars, including the Electra UHF radio package for TGO, and Mars Proximity Link telecom and engineering support to EDM.

Today's signature between ESA and Roscosmos provides the basis for industry and scientific institutes to begin full cooperation on the missions and to meet the challenging schedule, with the first launch planned in January 2016.

All times are CT (US)

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