Roscosmos Denies Anomaly With Proton Upper Stage

Artist’s impression depicting the separation of the ExoMars 2016 entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, named Schiaparelli, from the Trace Gas Orbiter, and heading for Mars. (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)
Artist’s impression depicting the separation of the ExoMars 2016 entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, named Schiaparelli, from the Trace Gas Orbiter, and heading for Mars. (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)

Roscosmos has denied that the Breeze-M upper stage used to send ESA’s ExoMars mission to Mars malfunctioned.

Briefing reporters in Moscow, Igor A. Komarov reiterated statements made by Proton prime contractor Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, saying the Breeze-M upper stage separated ExoMars without incident and then proceeded with the standard passivation and collision-avoidance maneuvers.

Komarov said he had seen photos taken from a Brazilian ground telescope that appeared to show small objects in the vicinity of the Breeze-M stage and ExoMars.

“I do have these pictures, provided by the Brazilian observatory, showing the ExoMars spacecraft surrounded by some dimly illuminated objects reportedly related to the upper stage,” Komarov said.

“Telemetry and other objectively verifiable data available to us, covering the entire time from the separation and the contamination and collision avoidance maneuvers to the passivation of the upper stage, show that all these steps have been performed successfully, without any anomalies,” Komarov said. “There is absolutely no indication of an upper-stage explosion or breakup.”

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  • Aerospike

    They should put small smartphone like cameras with wide angle lenses and “selfie sticks” on all spacecraft and upper stages. That way they could visually inspect spacecraft to clarify such situations.
    It would only add a tiny amount of mass to a spacecraft.

  • Paul451

    It’s not the cameras, it’s the comms.

  • Aerospike

    I don’t get your point?

  • Paul451

    Video is a high-bandwidth, high-demand signal. Requires more power and much better antenna and alignment compared to, say, normal telemetry.

  • Aerospike

    I never said anything about video. I was actually thinking more about simple still pictures. That is still a lot more bandwidth than telemetry, but a lot less than video.

    Still: SpaceX shows that you can have multiple cameras on the second stage and the dragon. Nos just take one of those tiny cameras on a telescopic stick and you could easily snap a quick picture to verify your vehicles integrity.

    The only mass penalty would be the telescopic stick, since the rest is already on board.