The ExoMars lander model survived the high altitude drop test, but the parachute problem that has plagued the European / Russian mission to Mars for many years has yet to be fully resolved.
European Space Agency (ESA) officials stated in a latest high-altitude drop test that the European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars life-hunting vehicle that will land on Mars in 2023 slows down its 115-foot parachute ( 35 meters) Suffered Declaration of “minor damage” in the last fall test. The failure of the
parachute, which failed the drop tests before 2019 and 2020, was the main reason that caused the mission to be postponed from the previous launch date in 2020 until September 2022.
The second-stage parachute was will open after the lander. The European Space Agency indicated in a statement that during the test carried out at the Esplanche Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden from June 24 to 26, the ExoMars The landing platform model speed was reduced to subsonic speed, but it was still slowed down as expected.
During the test, a helium-filled balloon raised the capsule to an altitude of 29 kilometers (18 miles). The lander model was discarded, and the smallest 50-foot (15 m) supersonic parachute was first released, followed by the large subsonic parachute. The European Space Agency said in a statement that the conditions during the test perfectly simulated the pressure on the parachute when it landed on Mars.
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Although the first stage of the supersonic parachute works without problems, the largest subsonic parachute During this period, some damage test
“The performance of the second main parachute is not perfect, but due to adjustments to the backpack and hood, its performance has been greatly improved (compared to the previous test),” ExoMars Project Team leader Thierry Blancquaert said in a statement. “After gently removing the bag, we accidentally left the test line during the final inflation.” The
pilot parachute is a small auxiliary parachute that deploys the main parachute. In the case of the ExoMars landing pad, each of the two brake parachutes has a pilot parachute to deploy it.
According to Blancquaert, the 115-foot subsonic parachute deck was exposed to excessive pressure due to problems with the pilot’s parachute.
“This caused a contained tear in the Kevlar reinforcing ring,” Blancquaert said in the statement.
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ESA stated that the parachute team will investigate this problem and try to find a solution before the next series of drop tests scheduled for October and November this year .
After failing tests in 2019 and 2020, ESA turned to engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California to design parachutes for the Perseverance and Curiosity rover. The JPL team helped design and test parachutes at their ground facilities, which use compressed air to simulate free fall.
ESA stated that they will work with JPL again to resolve the remaining issues. The agency also stated that they ordered replacement parachutes from the US manufacturer Airborne Systems, which makes parachutes for Perseverance. The
landing system has always been a major problem for ExoMars, a joint mission between ESA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos. In 2016, ExoMars’ test lander Schiaparelli crashed on Mars after its onboard computer incorrectly calculated its distance to the ground. The investigation of the accident found that the spacecraft began to rotate after the parachute was opened, which overwhelmed the navigation and control system software.
During its descent to Mars, the landing module entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 13,000 mph (21,000 km/h), but the thin atmosphere alone could not slow the spacecraft down enough for a soft landing. In the case of ExoMars, the capsule will first use its heat shield to slow down and then deploy the supersonic parachute. After slowing down to below the speed of sound, the large parachute will deploy. The spacecraft will eventually land with the help of a rocket launched backwards.
“We are pleased to report that the first main parachute is working very well-we have a supersonic parachute design that can fly to Mars,” Blanquiert said in the statement. “There are at least two opportunities to try this parachute design to gain more confidence.”
So far, only the United States and China have successfully landed on Mars. For the first European attempt, the British-made Beagle 2 lander landed safely, but never transmitted any signal. In 2015, the probe was found in an image taken by the HiRISE camera on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image showed that the lander’s solar panels were not properly deployed, causing its main communication antenna to be covered and unable to call home.