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ExoMars parachute failures could jeopardize 2020 launch date

13 Aug 2019, 19:28 UTC
ExoMars parachute failures could jeopardize 2020 launch date
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The ExoMars parachute deployment sequence that will deliver a surface platform and rover to the surface of Mars. The graphic is not to scale, and the colors of the parachutes are for illustrative purposes only. Credit: ESA
The European Space Agency has confirmed a parachute for the ExoMars rover mission set for launch next July failed during a test over Sweden earlier this month, the project’s second parachute test accident since May.
The failure during a high-altitude parachute test Aug. 5 was a setback for the ExoMars team as engineers work toward a 19-day launch window that opens July 25, 2020. It was the second parachute failure ExoMars engineers have encountered in pre-launch testing, following a similar accident May 28.
Four parachutes — two pilot chutes and supersonic and subsonic main chutes — will slow the ExoMars lander after it enters the Martian atmosphere. The lander will jettison the parachutes and ignite braking rockets to slowly settle onto the surface of Mars.
Engineers implemented changes to the critical parachute system after the May 28 accident, but the follow-up test also ran into trouble, ESA said in a statement Monday. ESA and industrial teams conducted both tests from the Esrange Space ...

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