ESA Agrees to ExoMars Deal with Russia


ESA’s ExoMars rover. (Courtesy of ESA)[/caption]

ESA will go ahead with its ambitious ExoMars program with Russia stepping in after NASA withdrew:

The 20-nation European Space Agency (ESA) on Nov. 19 approved a cooperation arrangement with Russia under which the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, will provide two Proton rockets to launch what has become the Euro-Russian ExoMars mission in 2016 and 2018, according to ESA officials….

ESA is depending on Russia to save the life of ExoMars, on which ESA governments have already spent more than 400 million euros ($520 million).

Comprising a telecommunications orbiter with a NASA-provided antenna, and an entry, descent and landing module in 2016, plus an ESA-built rover for launch in 2018, ExoMars is now expected to cost ESA about 1.2 billion euros after accounting for the two Roscosmos-provided Proton launches of the two missions.

Russia will provide an instrument for the 2016 telecommunications orbiter and will have principal responsibility for a landing module for the 2018 mission, in addition to providing an experiment aboard the ESA rover.

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