Illustration Credit & Copyright: B. Bethge/European Space Agency (ESA).
LAUNCH ALERT: Monday, March 14 at 09:30 UTC (05:30 EDT) The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars mission will be launching to the Red Planet from the legendary Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Proton-M Rocket.
Europe’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) as well as the Schiaparelli lander is scheduled to arrive at Mars in October of 2016 making it a seven month trip. The TGO orbiter will search the Martian atmosphere for signs of the gas produced by life; Methane. When the Schiaparelli lander touches down on October 19 its batteries which are only scheduled to last about a week will survey the environment. It’s a secondary bonus because the lander’s purpose is really to test the technologies required to land part two of the ExoMars mission; a drilling rover to be launched in 2018.
NOTE: If successful, this will be Europe’s first successful Mars landing. It’s believed that Beagle-2 (named after HMS Beagle) landed successfully in Isidis Planitia on December 25, 2003 but no contact was ever made with the lander and wasn’t considered a success.
Go TGO, Go Schiaparelli, Go Proton!
THE ROCKET: The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, Proton-M rocket stands on average, 58.2 m (191 ft.) tall and is a three-stage heavy lift rocket with some serious history. With its first launch coming back on July 16, 1965 the Proton rocket has been a workhorse for the Russian space program launching the Salyut series and Mir space stations. Launches come out of Sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
When the Proton is used for commercial launches, it’s marketed by the International Launch Services (ILS).
PAYLOAD FAINING (PLF): is either a 13305 mm (43 ft. 7 in.) or 15255 mm (50 ft.) two-shell structure that protects the payload during launch and throughout ascent before being jettisoned.
BREEZE-M UPPER STAGE: is 2.6 m (8.5 ft.) in length and 4.1 m (13.5 ft.) in diameter and is powered by one (1) 14D30 Sustainer and four (4) 11D458M Control Thrusters.
3rd STAGE: is 4.1 m (13.5 ft.) in length and 4.1 m (13.5 ft.) in diameter and is powered by one (1) RD-0213 and one (1) Four-Nozzle Vernier engines.
2nd STAGE: is 17 m (56 ft.) tall and 4.1 m (13.5 ft.) in diameter and is powered by three (3) RD-0210 and one (1) RD-0211 engines.
1st STAGE: is 21.18 m (69.6 ft.) tall and 4.1 m (13.5 ft.) in diameter and is powered by six (6) RD-276 engines which are attached not to the rocket but to the six strap-on (outboard) fuel tanks.
ILS Proton-M page: http://www.ilslaunch.com/launch-services/ils-proton-breeze-m-launch-vehicle
KSRPSC Proton-M page: http://www.khrunichev.ru/main.php?id=42
ExoMars Twitter: https://twitter.com/ESA_ExoMars
European Space Agency (ESA):
International Launch Services (ILS):
ILS Home: http://www.ilslaunch.com/
ILS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ILSLaunch
ILS Twitter: https://twitter.com/ILSLaunch
ILS YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ilslaunchservices
Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center:
Russian Federal Space Agency ROSCOSMOS:
Home (Russian): http://www.roscosmos.ru/
Home (English): http://en.federalspace.ru/