Category : Technology
We just learned that the mission will not start as planned and we have to reckon with a delay up to 2022, and all because of the inability to further test components due to the epidemic.
Although the coronavirus has been with us for only 4 months, it has already caused huge losses not only in people, but also in the economy, entertainment events and science. So far, a lot of technological events have been canceled, with MWC and E3 at the forefront, numerous cinema premieres have been postponed, and now it turns out that the delay will also include one of the planned space missions, namely ExoMars. This is a joint project of the European Space Agency and the Russian Roscosmos, which aimed to send a rover to Red Planet to search for traces of life.
The mission was scheduled to start this year, but now we have learned that the coronavirus deprived the organizer of the opportunity to properly test the components and preparation, so the new date is probably 2022. ESA announced that this decision was very difficult, but it was made jointly by the heads of both entities, i.e. Jan Wörner and Dmitry Rogozin, to ensure that both the space vehicle and the software will be properly prepared for the mission, which in the current circumstances is impossible. In addition, in their opinion, the growing epidemic threat in many European countries means that other stages of the mission, such as the preparation of take-off, would also be difficult to transport in terms of transporting the necessary people and equipment.
Although the Kazok launch platform and the Rosalind Franklin rover have already been assembled and tested, some modules, e.g. the falling sequence, are still waiting for evaluation. It is also worth emphasizing that this is not the first delay of ExoMars, because originally the rover was sent to Mars as early as 2018, but there were problems with the assembly of a space vehicle with the necessary equipment, which caused the delay of the mission until 2020. As we already know, this date will not be kept, so a new one had to appear. According to ESA, the real date is the period between August and October 2022, depending on the 10-day window of the appropriate location relative to each other Earth and Mars.
As Dmitry Rogozin claims: We have made a difficult, but well-thought-out decision to postpone the start until 2022. It is dictated mainly by the need to maximize the performance of all ExoMars systems, as well as unforeseen circumstances related to the current epidemic situation in Europe, which means that we cannot continue traveling to partner companies. I am convinced that the steps taken by us and our European colleagues will ensure the mission's success and will be fully justified and will bring positive effects once we start the mission.