A problem recently discovered in two sensors in the propulsion system of the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module has prompted the recommendation to move the launch of the ExoMars 2016 mission, initially foreseen in January, to March, still within the launch window of early 2016.
ExoMars is a joint endeavour between ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency. The recommendation was made in full coordination between the two agencies and will be finally endorsed by a joint steering board on 24 September.
The Schiaparelli module will prove key technologies to demonstrate Europe’s capability to make a controlled landing on Mars. The 600 kg Schiaparelli will ride to Mars on the Trace Gas Orbiter, which will subsequently enter orbit around the Red Planet to begin its five-year mission of studying atmospheric gases potentially linked to present-day biological or geological activity. [More at link]