MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The Russian-European expert group has made a decision on completing the stage of the systemic designing of the ExoMars-2020 mission and the launch is planned for July-August 2020, the press office of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos said on Thursday.
"The defense of the systemic project was recognized as successful, as a result of which the industry of Russia and Europe can switch to the stage of the ground-based experimental testing and production of the flight module of the ExoMars-2020 mission, which, in turn, will help carry out the launch of the space vehicle planned for July-August 2020," Roscosmos said.
The space vehicle of the ExoMars-2020 mission is planned for its launch by a Proton-M carrier rocket with a Briz-M booster from the Baikonur spaceport, the press office said.
ExoMars-2020 is a Russian-European project to study Mars, its surface, atmosphere and climate from an orbit and on the planet’s surface. Under the project, Russia’s Lavochkin Research and Production Association will develop a descent module with a landing platform while the European side will focus on a carrier module and a rover. The Russian platform is expected to work on Mars for about twelve months.
The ExoMars-2020 mission’s spacecraft is designed to deliver the Russian landing platform to Mars for placing the European rover onto the Red Planet’s surface. After disembarking the rover, the platform will begin to work as a longtime autonomous research station for studying the composition and properties of Martian surface and atmosphere. The European rover will house the Pasteur scientific laboratory to study directly the surface and the atmosphere of Mars in the landing area, search for compounds and substances that could testify to the possible existence of life on Mars.
The first stage of the ExoMars project was launched in 2016 and the mission included the TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) apparatus and the Schiaparelli demonstrator landing module, which reached the Red Planet in October 2016.
The key goal of the TGO mission is to gain a better understanding of methane and other atmospheric gases present in the Martian atmosphere that could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity.
The Schiaparelli landing demonstrator vehicle was expected to practice maneuvers to enter the Martian atmosphere, descend and land on the Red Planet before the launch of the mission’s second stage but failed to make a soft landing and crashed.