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Launch window for 2020 ExoMars mission to open on July 25 — ESA

February 12, 12:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

For the second ExoMars mission, Russia is preparing a landing platform together with scientific instruments and a Proton carrier rocket

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Proton-M rocket carrying ExoMars 2016 spacecraft

Proton-M rocket carrying ExoMars 2016 spacecraft

© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. The launch window for the Russian-European ExoMars-2020 mission will open on July 25 and last about four weeks, Head of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Office in Moscow Rene Pischel told TASS on Tuesday.

"As of today, the mission’s launch is scheduled for July 2020. The launch window, which will last three-four weeks, will open on July 25," he said.

For the second ExoMars mission, Russia is preparing a landing platform together with scientific instruments and a Proton carrier rocket. The European side is preparing a Mars rover and a transfer module.

"The European side is trying to keep to the schedule. I can say that both sides are taking efforts so that everything is prepared and tested on time," Pischel said.

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.

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