ESA asks NASA’s help on ExoMars rover parachute problems


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The European Space Agency (ESA) has asked for help from NASA in trying to figure out the cause of the failures during testing of the parachutes they want to use to safely land their ExoMars 2020 rover, Rosalind Franklin.

So far the parachutes have been damaged on all previous tests. They plan two more tests in December and February.

Both tests, to be held at high altitude to simulate the Martian atmosphere, need to succeed in order for the parachutes to pass qualification. TheExoMars mission faces a final review scheduled April 2020, Francois Spoto, ExoMars program manager, told SpaceNews. “Now the situation is critical, of course, because we have limited time and no margin,” Spoto says.

If one of the tests fails, the ExoMars mission will miss the narrow July 25 to Aug. 13 launch window next year and slip to the next window, in late 2022. The lander and rover segments are meanwhile progressing well and ready for environmental testing.

They held a workshop on the previous failures, and obtained new analysis of the causes from JPL engineers.

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2 comments

  • Wodun

    Hopefully ESA gets a bill in the mail.

  • Col Beausabre

    1) Agreed – nice fat consultants’ fee – in dollars, not your play money euros

    2) I gotta think it is too late for their deadline, no matter what happens in the tests

    3) If they do launch on time, there should be a big banner in mission control saying “Thank you, USA” and an even bigger one if the lander comes down safely at Mars

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