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ExoMars spacecraft adjusts flight trajectory en route to Red Planet

August 11, 2016, 14:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. The Russian-European interplanetary station ExoMars fired its main engine for about 2.5 minutes to adjust the flight trajectory en route to the Red Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA) reported on Thursday.

"Burn complete," the ESA said in a statement posted on its Twitter page.

The engine of the ExoMars station staying at a distance of 19 million kilometers from the Red Planet worked for 155 seconds. The previous trajectory adjustment was carried out on July 28 and lasted about 50 minutes.

The Russian-European mission ExoMars-2016 was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan by a Proton-M carrier rocket on March 14.

The mission comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli landing demonstrator module, which will reach Mars in October.

TGO will study, in particular, small gas mixtures of the atmosphere and water ice on Martian soil. Schiaparelli will practice maneuvers to enter the Martian atmosphere, descend and land on the Red Planet. It will operate for just several days on Mars until the energy capacity of its batteries is depleted. TGO is expected to reach the orbit of Mars on October 19 and on the same day Schiaparelli is set to land on the Red Planet.

The ExoMars 2nd stage envisages sending a Russian landing platform and a European rover to the Red Planet in 2020. The mission’s 2nd stage will focus on drilling and analyzing Martian soil: scientists believe that the traces of organic life could have been preserved at a depth of several meters.

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