MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. The final trials of the ExoMars-2020 project’s lander and rover will begin in March 2020, the launch is due on July 26, the deputy director general of Russia’s Lavochkin Research and Production Association, Kharun Karchayev, said.
"On September 8, we will transfer the space system, comprising the descent module and the delivery module, to Cannes, where the next stage of trials - in a thermodynamic chamber - will take place. Those trials will continue until March. After that, we will take the entire system to Turin, where final tests will be carried out," the source said.
According to the official, the final tests will be completed in May 2020, and the spacecraft will be taken to Moscow and further to the Baikonur space center for the launch, due on July 26, 2020.
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.