Saturday, March 9, 2019

Russian Manufacturer Develops Equipment for Research Probe’s Landing on Mars

The European ExoMars rover under construction at Airbus, Stevenage, in the UK.  ExoMars is a joint endeavour between ESA and Roscosmos. The rover is part of the 2020 mission, landing on Mars with a surface science platform in 2021. Credit: ESA - S. Corvaja

Specialists from the Sarapul-based Electric Generator Plant in the Volga Republic of Udmurtia have manufactured and tested a thrust regulator for the liquid-propellant rocket engine that will allow the Russian descent module of the ExoMars-2020 research mission to land on Mars, the Plant’s press office said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Our enterprise has manufactured and tested prototype items and sent them to the customer, the Obninsk-based research enterprise Technologiya. The Sarapul thrust control actuator provides for the required speed of the torch of the rocket regulator, changing the thrust vector capacity depending on specific conditions, which will allow the descent vehicle to make a smooth landing directly on the surface of Planet Mars," Plant CEO Sergei Musinov was quoted by the press office as saying.

The regulator has been created for overcoming the risk of the research probe’s crash during its landing. The research module with the equipment from Udmurtia is scheduled to be launched on July 25, 2020.

"The previous attempt to deliver the ExoMars equipment was made in 2016 but the Schiaparelli descent demonstrator module failed to land smoothly. The Sarapul thrust regulator can solve the problem of landing on the Red Planet: the Sarapul Electric Generator Plant has won the reputation of a reliable manufacturer in the aerospace industry. All of us are observing the enterprise’s successful experience in the production of drive gear for the rocketry and launch automatics for air defense systems," First Deputy Chairman of the Udmurt Government Alexander Svinin was quoted as saying in the statement.

The Sarapul Electric Generator Plant is the manufacturer of onboard systems of power generation, control and protection, lighting equipment for all types of Russian aircraft and helicopters, drive gear for rocketry and electric supply units, launch automatics for air defense systems, and also civilian products.

ExoMars is the joint project of Roscosmos and the European Space Agency to study Mars, its surface, atmosphere and climate.

The first stage of the ExoMars project was launched in 2016 and the mission included a TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) apparatus and a demonstrator landing module Schiaparelli, which reached the Red Planet in October 2016.

The key goal of the TGO mission is to gain a better understanding of methane and other atmospheric gases present in the Martian atmosphere that could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity.

The Schiaparelli landing demonstrator vehicle was expected to practice maneuvers to enter the Martian atmosphere, descend and land on the Red Planet before the launch of the mission’s second stage but failed to make a soft landing and crashed.

The ExoMars 2nd stage is planned to be implemented in 2020. The project envisages sending a Russian landing module and a European rover to the Red Planet. The Russian platform is expected to work on Mars for a year.

Credit: TASS

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