Tests successfully completed on the ExoMars spacecraft
After more than two months since the ExoMars spacecraft launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the In-Orbit Commissioning Review (IOCR) phase was successfully completed. Thales Alenia Space has in fact submitted a report to the European Space Agency (ESA) that confirms the full functionality of the spacecraft’s two constituent modules: EDM (Entry and Descent Module) and TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter).
In particular, the tests on the TGO during the LEOP phase confirmed that the satellite’s temperatures are within operational limits; the propulsion subsystem (Reaction Control System RCS) is operating as expected and energy consumption is nominal. The electrical parameters (voltage and current) remain stable in relation to the results of tests on Earth. While ExoMars continues its journey towards Mars, Thales Alenia Space is completing its negotiations with ESA concerning activities for the follow-on of the interplanetary cruise, Mars approach and operational phases.
Thales Alenia Space has recently signed a Record of Agreement with ESA for the second mission of this program, the Rover and Surface Platform Mission, expected to take place at the end of 2020.
The next milestones foreseen by October are:
• Mid-June – second TGO payload and EDM check-out.
• Beginning of July – commissioning of the main TGO engine by performing a slight powered maneuver.
• July 28 - DSM (Deep Space Maneuver), to place the spacecraft into the trajectory needed for it to land on Mars.
• August 11 – trajectory adjustment.
• September-October – simulation of the landing on Mars.
• October 16 – EDM separates from the orbiter.
• October 19 –TGO enters into Martian orbit, while the EDM simultaneously lands on Mars.