Top officials with the European Space Agency remain confident that they will be able to resolve the parachute problems that threaten to delay next summer’s launch of the ExoMars 2020 rover mission.
ESA needs to succeed with two upcoming parachute tests or will see the ExoMars 2020 landing mission slip to 2022.
The European Space Agency said Aug. 12 that another test of the parachutes that will be used on the ExoMars 2020 lander mission failed last week, putting the schedule of the mission into jeopardy.
Development of a European-Russian Mars lander hit a setback when the spacecraft’s parachutes malfunctioned in a recent test, but project officials said they still have time to correct the problem before its launch in a year.
The spacecraft, a landing technology demonstrator, flew to Mars on the ExoMars 2016 mission, but crashed when it prematurely shut down its thrusters.
The agency said it will consider Mawrth Vallis, an area that once likely had liquid water, along with Oxia Planum.
The European Space Agency on Nov. 23 said its Schiaparelli lander’s crash landing on Mars on Oct. 19 followed an unexplained saturation of its inertial measurement unit, which delivered bad data to the lander’s computer and forced a premature release of its parachute.
Satellite and rocket hardware builder OHB of Germany on Nov. 16 said delays in its supply chain had put pressure on its revenue in recent months but that the company’s full-year profitability would be unaffected.
The European Space Agency will ask its 22 member governments in December for a multi-year financial commitment of around 11 billion euros ($12.2 billion) including a billion-euro telecommunications research effort to be conducted in partnership with the private sector and around 1.4 billion euros in new Earth observation missions, ESA Director-General Jan Woerner said Nov. 7.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on Oct. 21 gave written warning to the French government that it would take France to court in six months unless France’s Arianespace launch-service company frees up about 300 million euros ($330 million) in long-overdue payments.
Images from a NASA Mars orbiter suggest that the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli spacecraft crashed when attempting to land on the Martian surface Oct. 19.
The European Space Agency on Oct. 19 successfully placed its Trace Gas Orbiter satellite in Mars orbit, where it will examine Mars’s atmosphere before changing orbit to become a data relay station for future U.S. and European Mars rover missions.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on June 15 made an impassioned plea to European governments not to quit the International Space Station partnership, saying the station is the on-ramp for future collaboration in space exploration.
European Space Agency Director-General Johann-Dietrich Woerner on May 9 expressed frustration with the equipment delays that forced a two-year slip in the launch of Europe’s ExoMars rover vehicle and said he would not write a blank check to keep the mission alive.
The European and Russian space agencies on May 2 said their joint ExoMars 2018 mission carrying a rover and an experiment-filled landing platform to Mars would not be ready in time and would be delayed to July 2020.