Frida Space

ExoMars 2016: on its way to Mars!

267 posts in this topic

14 hours ago, Kryten said:

We got them to launch Mars Express and that turned out fine. Launches haven't generally been the issue for the Russian missions either, at least since the early 60s.

  Russians have a bad track record for losing contact.

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10 hours ago, Sanic said:

  Russians have a bad track record for losing contact.

The Exomars spacecraft buses and communication equipment, and responsibility for communicating and tracking them, are all ESA.

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32 minutes ago, Kryten said:

The Exomars spacecraft buses and communication equipment, and responsibility for communicating and tracking them, are all ESA.

The problem is more about Proton anyway. 

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Updates from Baikonur:

TGO has been positioned on top of the launch vehicle adapter...

ExoMars_160105-LC-AIT-62px_orig.jpg

...while Schiaparelli has undergone the first biosampling tests to assure planetary protection requirements are met.

ExoMars_160106-LC-AIT-10px_orig.jpg

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ExoMars_FREND_Baikonur_160109-LC-AIT-01p

ESA and Roscosmos have agreed to replace one of TGO's four instruments with a spare flight model. Before leaving the Thales Alenia facility in Cannes, engineers had observed a heavy noise coming from one of FREND's four sensors. After the spacecraft was transferred to the Baikonur launch site, they decided to replace the entire instrument with a spare flight model which had already been tested and appeared to not have the same level of noise as the other model. The swap has already been performed and preliminary data says the spare flight model has been installed correctly.

ExoMars_FREND_Baikonur_160109-LC-AIT-02p

From ESA: "FREND will map hydrogen on the surface down to a metre deep, revealing deposits of water-ice near the surface. FREND's mapping of shallow subsurface water-ice will be up to 10 times better than existing measurements. It is one of two instruments provided by the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences."

ExoMars_FREND_Baikonur_160111-LC-AIT-02p

Edited by Frida Space
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The Schiaparelli EDL demonstrator has been fully fuelled.

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_EDM_fuelling_201601

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Schiaparelli's front and rear heat shields have now been completed, except for 3 tiles which will be installed only after mating with TGO. The heat shields will have to withstand temperatures of up to 1850 °C.

ExoMars_160206-LC-AIT-17pe.jpg

ExoMars_160206-LC-AIT-44pe_crop.jpg

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Schiaparelli has been installed atop the Trace Gas Orbiter for the third (and last) time in the mission's history. The two probes are now in launch configuration and won't separate until October 16th, three days prior to landing and orbital insertion, respectively, when a system of non-explosive actuators will release compressed and angled springs that will push away Schiaparelli and spin-stabilize it. Next up: installation of last three tiles of Schiaparelli's heat shield, communication software testing, TGO fuelling.

ExoMars2016_20160212_LC_AIT_96.jpg

Also, less than a month to launch!

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Can't wait! Oh yeah, it's launching on Pi Day!

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2 minutes ago, fredinno said:

The f**k is pi day?

Pi Day: 3/14 or 3.14, the first digits of Pi.

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There's already a thread with discussions/updates on the mission :)

 

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There was already a thread for this, and so the two have been merged. Proceed. 

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Fuelling of TGO is now underway. TGO has two 1207 litre-tanks, one with 1.5 ton of oxidizer (mixed oxides of nitrogen, MON), and one with 1 ton of propellant (monomethylhydrazine, MMH).

Fuelling_the_Trace_Gas_Orbiter.jpg

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Two days ago, Schiaparelli and TGO were assembled on top of the launch vehicle adapter (LVA), which in turn was mounted on top of the Briz-M upper stage. Coming up: the Briz-M will be installed atop the Proton rocket on March 5th; on March 11th, the rocket will be rolled out to the launch pad.

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_20160229_SCC%252BLV

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_20160229_SCC_mated_

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The two spacecraft and the Briz-M upper stage have been encapsulated in the Proton fairings. These are probably the last photos of Schiaparelli and TGO ever, as next time they'll be exposed they should hopefully be on their way to orbit, far away from any human eyes!

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_fairing_encapsulati

Edited by Frida Space
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*goes to sleep* *has awful memories of Mars '96 and Phobos-Grunt* *thinks about the various failures of the Proton-M* *cries*

In all seriousness though, the last few Proton launches have been good, and Mars Express was launched on a Soyuz with not to many issues, so the launch and following events should hopefully go well (and hopefully contact isn't lost)...

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Schiaparelli and TGO (now attached to the Briz-M and encapsulated inside the fairings, see previous updates on this thread) have been transferred by train to the assembly building and have been installed on top of the Proton that, less than a week from now, will launch them towards the Red Planet!

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_transfer_UC_2016030

ExoMars2016_Baikonur_team_with_Proton_20

Edited by Frida Space
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The Proton rocket with both probes has been transferred to the refuelling station on the way to the launchpad. The Briz-M upper stage has been fully fueled.

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The Proton rocket is now vertical on the launchpad!

ExoMars2016_proton_launch_pad_160311-LC-

Edited by Frida Space

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whats all that stuff on the payload faring?

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2 hours ago, insert_name said:

whats all that stuff on the payload faring?

It's a thermal cover that gets removed before flight :)

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Russians really do know how to build a rocket that looks like it does not mess around. A Falcon 9 is pretty neat, but these pictures look like they are taken on a Bond movie set.

Female voice sounds through speakers: "Raising the rocket".

Alarms blare, tension mounts, popcorn gets eaten.

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