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Engineers Making Progress on ExoMars Parachutes

15 Oct 2019, 18:20 UTC
Engineers Making Progress on ExoMars Parachutes
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PARIS, 15 October 2019 (ESA PR) — Positive steps towards solving the problems discovered with the ExoMars mission parachutes have been taken in the last month to keep on track for the July-August 2020 launch window.

The mission needs two parachutes – each with its own pilot chute for extraction – to help slow the descent module prior to landing on Mars. Once the atmospheric drag has slowed the descent module from around 21 000 km/h to 1700 km/h, the first parachute will be deployed. Some 20 seconds later, at about 400 km/h, the second parachute will open. Following separation of the parachutes about 1 km above ground the braking engines will kick in to safely deliver a landing platform – with a rover encapsulated inside – onto the surface of Mars for its scientific mission. The entire sequence from atmospheric entry to landing takes just six minutes.

While the deployment sequence of all four parachutes was successfully tested in high altitude drop tests earlier this year, damage to the 15 m-diameter primary parachute and 35 m-diameter secondary parachute canopy was observed. Despite precautionary design adaptations being introduced for a second test of the 35 m parachute, canopy damage occurred ...

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