days to the separation of the Schiaparelli landing module from the Trace Gas Orbiter, 83
days to the landing on Mars at Meridiani Planum, still around 175
million kilometers to go before arriving at the Red Planet. We’re at a crucial point in the seven-month journey of the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft. Now that it seems to be “clear sailing ahead”, the long-standing dreams of all space fans will be coming true. Today, the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft successfully performed one of the key steps on its journey to Mars: the deep space maneuver (DSM), a major maneuver to “bend” the craft’s trajectory toward the Red Planet.
The orbiter has already sent messages back to Earth. In May it passed a complete functionality review, confirming that all systems are “go”. In June the Schiaparelli module underwent a full functional check confirming the readiness of all onboard instruments.
Emotions are running high as everyone is waiting with baited breath for the “grand finale” of the ExoMars 2016 mission on October 19, 2016, when the Schiaparelli module will land on Mars, after separating from the TGO on October 16.
Smaller correction burns are planned in August before the spacecraft’s arrival at Mars. That will enable the TGO to precisely release the Schiaparelli lander, which will touch down in Meridiani Planum, a flat plain near the Martian equator.
Copyright: © Thales Alenia Space/Master Image Programmes