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August 8-14, 2016 / Vol 35, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA

5 Aug 2016, 20:04 UTC
August 8-14, 2016 / Vol 35, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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1st ExoMars Mission Making Rapid Progress Toward Red Planet

ExoMars 2016 is currently in Deep Space, well over half way on its 500 million km journey, set to conduct a trajectory correction maneuver on August 11, and is fine-tuning its approach to Mars after a successful major engine burn July 28. Two additional trim burns September 19 and October 14 will set the craft on a precise path to intercept Mars and accurately deliver the Schiaparelli lander toward touchdown at Meridiani Planum on Oct 19. Having deployed the lander on Oct 16 the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is scheduled to perform the Mars avoidance maneuver Oct 17 and insertion into Mars orbit Oct 19 while communicating with the lander and relaying data back to Earth. Michel Denis, ExoMars flight director, notes that there is a complex communications network supporting the mission comprising the Mars Express orbiter (Europe) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA), as well as the 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network and an array of 30 45-meter parabolic reflectors known as the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, India. Schiaparelli is an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module designed to validate technologies for future landings. It has a ...

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