Home / Science / Europe and Russia have parachute problems with ExoMars. It could threaten the March launch of 2020

Europe and Russia have parachute problems with ExoMars. It could threaten the March launch of 2020

There is concern that the Euro-Russian ExoMars 2020 mission may become ExoMars 2022.

The issue includes parachute testing and a series of snags that meet when trying to fly-qualify the provenance system. The ExoMars team continues to troubleshoot the parachute design after a failed high altitude test last week.

The upcoming ExoMars mission includes a life chase named Rosalind Franklin and a surface science platform called Kazachok, which is scheduled to launch next summer and touch the red planet in March 2021.

Related: How the Euro-Russian ExoMars missions work (Infographic)

If the mission misses the launch window for 2020, it would have to wait until at least 2022 for the next opportunity to lift. (Starting Mars mission window only opens once every 26 months.)

Oh, bracket!

Several parachute tests from ExoMars have been conducted on a Swedish space company, European Space Agency (ESA) officials wrote in a statement yesterday (August 1


The first such test took place last year. It involved the largest main screen, 115 feet (35 meters) wide – greater than any interest rate that ever flew on a Mars mission. A helicopter dropped the gutter from a height of 1.2 miles (1.2 kilometers), and the parachute deployed and blew successfully, ESA officials say.

But two subsequent tests did not go so well.

"On May 28 this year, the distribution sequence for all four parachutes was tested for the first time from a height of 29 km [18 miles] – released from a stratospheric helium balloon," ESA officials wrote in the statement. "While the distribution mechanisms were activated correctly and the overall sequence ended, both main screens were damaged ."

The ExoMars team made some changes to the parachute system design before the next high-altitude test on August 5, which focused only on the 115-foot-wide gutter. The results were similar to the previous attempt: the initial steps were completed correctly, but the gutter was affected by roof damage before inflation. The test module only came down under the pull of a small pilot chute, ESA officials said.

"It is disappointing that the cautionary adjustments introduced after the anomalies in the last test have not helped us successfully pass the second test, but as always we remain focused and working to understand and correct the shortage to launch next year , "ESA ExoMars team leader Francois Spoto said in the statement.

The team plans to conduct another elevation test of a large main screen before the end of 2019. The next qualification attempt for the second main screen is expected early 2020.

Related: Occupy Mars: History of Robotic Red Planet Missions (Infographic) [19659017] Sizes of key components of the ExoMars 2020 mission. "Class =" lazy-image lazy-image-loading lazyload optional-image "onerror =" this.parentNode.replaceChild (window.missingImage (), this) " sizes = "auto" data-normal = "https://vanilla.futurecdn.net/space/media/img/missing-image.svg" data-src = "https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net /jtj7uYLoULU5CZuTMBTusU-320-80.jpg "data-srcset =" https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/jtj7uYLoULU5CZuTMBTusU-320-80.jpg 320w, https://cdn.mos.cms.futurec /jtj7uYLoULU5CZuTMBTusU-650-80.jpg 650w "data-sizes =" auto "data-original-mos =" https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/jtj7uYLoULU5CZuTMBTusU.jpg "data-pin-media =" https : //cdn.mos.cms.futurec dn.net/jtj7uYLoULU5CZuTMBTusU.jpg"/>

Sizes on key components of the ExoMars 2020 mission. at high altitude. So ExoMars teams are also considering building more parachute test models and performing ground-based simulations to better understand the complicated, dynamic parachute recovery process, ESA officials said.

ESA and NASA experts are regularly convened to exchange ideas on space science and technology. In addition to these forums, Mars parachute specialists will meet at a workshop next month in an effort to solve the problems.

Time to go short

The upcoming ExoMars mission has a much more complicated parachute accelerator system than those used for NASA's Mars mission.

Whether ExoMars is experiencing a parachute problem or other things associated with the parachute system is not clear.

And as time goes on, ESA / NASA discussions can be muddled because of the Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) and International Arms Traffic (ITAR) rules and regulations.

NASA nail bite

On the NASA side, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project – MER and Spirit – Opportunity – went through similar nail bits as parachute drop tests at California's China Lake encountered problems. A renovation was needed along with the use of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

NASA's mega parachute for Curiosity Mars rover mission underwent a total of six different tests between October 2007 and April 2009 within the NFAC. This parachute had 80 suspension lines, measuring more than 165 feet (50 m) long, and opened to a diameter of nearly 51 feet (16 meters).

Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity all landed safely on Mars. Curiosity was reduced in August 2012, and Spirit and Opportunity landed a few weeks apart in January 2004.

The Euro-Russian ExoMars program consists of two phases. The first phase launched Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a landing demonstrator named Schiaparelli in March 2016. TGO reached the orbit of Mars safely, but Schiaparelli crashed during his landing attempt in October 2016 due to a data error .

Rosalind Franklin and Kazachok represent the second phase of ExoMars. Europe built rover, while Russia supplies Kazachok lander .

NASA also plans to launch a life-hunting rover to the Red Planet next summer. The March 2020 rover is heavily based on curiosity and will utilize the latter provenance system, which relied on parachutes and a rocket-powered sky crane .

Leonard David is the author of the recently released book, " Moon Rush: The New Space Race " published by National Geographic in May 2019. David has reported on the space industry for more than five years since 1965. Space.com decades. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .

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