Thales Alenia Space’s ExoMars 2016 Spacecraft Nears Launch
Cannes, France-based Thales Alenia Space announced that the ExoMars 2016 orbiter spacecraft is set to leave its Cannes clean rooms where it is currently completing integration and testing. The ExoMars orbiter is set for delivery to the Baikonur launch base in Kazakhstan. Thales Alenia Space operates as a joint venture between French firm Thales (67%) and Italian firm Finmeccanica (33%).
"For Thales Alenia Space, our lead role in the extraordinary ExoMars program, as producer of the orbiter and the descent and landing module for on-site exploration of Mars, entails huge technological and human challenges,”
said Donato Amoroso, deputy CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
"To meet this challenge, Thales Alenia Space called on over forty years of experience in exploration programs, in particular the successful Cassini/Huygens mission, which realized the daring feat of landing on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, as well as all European probes already sent to Mars, Venus, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and to Mercury in the future.”
A joint undertaking between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), the ExoMars 2016 mission is set to arrive on Martian soil on October 19, 2016 -three days after the ExoMars orbiter is to deploy the Schiaparelli lander for entry into Mars’ atmosphere. The staff at Thales Alenia Space’s Cannes facilities have been working around the clock to meet the 12-day launch window in March 2016.
The goals of the ExoMars 2016 mission are as follows:
- Determine if any tiny microbes remain on the planet.
- Find out if Mars still has any geologic activity.
- Observe the Martian atmosphere and surface for the duration of the mission’s lifetime of 2 years.
- Supply telecommunication support for future missions like Thales Alenia Space’s 2018 mission.
As the industrial prime contractor for the ExoMars 2016 mission, Thales Alenia Space Italy is tasked with designing the Entry, Descent and landing Demonstration module (EDM), and Thales Alenia Space France is tasked with designing an integrating the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) orbital module.
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