Mars Express, the first European spacecraft to visit the planet Mars, has completed its tests at Toulouse, France. After six months extensive thermal environmental, mechanical and electric tests, the spacecraft with the Beagle 2 lander will leave for Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 19 March 2003 onboard an Antonov 124 aircraft. It will be launched early June 2003 onboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket.
Mars Express, Europe's first mission to a planet, was built by Astrium , the prime contractor, with the involvement of more than twenty European companies. Building Mars Express presented a double challenge : designing a highly complex system within tight deadlines (to meet a fixed launch date) as well as being as economical as possible. Mars Express has been built for half the costs of similar, previous missions.
The industrial team responded to the challenge by using off-the-shelf equipment and technology already developed for the Rosetta mission. New ways of project management and more responsibility at the initial stages of the collaboration with the European Space Agency, successfully kept the project within the allocated time limits and budgets.
The spacecraft will benefit from an exceptionally favourable launch window in June 2003; at this date, the distance separating the planets Earth and Mars will be minimal, an opportunity only occurring all 17 years. From December 2003, Mars Express will be inserted into an elliptical quasi-polar orbit.
Seven scientific instruments on the orbiter will perform the following tasks: global high-resolution imaging, global mineralogical mapping, global atmospheric circulation and mapping of the atmospheric composition, radar sounding of the subsurface structure, study of surface-atmosphere interactions, and interaction of the atmosphere with the interplanetary environment.
Mars Express will also carry the Beagle 2 lander which will detach from the spacecraft and land on the Martian surface. It will collect and analyse rock and soil samples on the spot.
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
Landers Feel The Heat
Paris (ESA) Jan 31, 2003
Space is certainly a cold place, but spacecraft have to face extremely high temperatures when they are exposed to the Sun's radiation. However, there are other extreme situations in which spacecraft are subject to tremendous heat. ESA's spacecraft must endure temperatures from hell ..
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|