How ExoMars 2016 will get to Mars
The ExoMars 2016 mission will be launched on a four-stage Proton-M/Breeze-M rocket, provided by Roscosmos, from Baikonur during the 14–25 March 2016 window. About ten-and-a-half hours after launch, the spacecraft will separate from the rocket and deploy its solar wings.
After separation, command and control of the spacecraft will be done by ESA’s mission control teams at ESOC, supported by experts from flight dynamics, ground stations and software systems.
In the first six weeks following launch the spacecraft will be commissioned, when all the systems and instruments are checked out and verified. Then it enters the cruise phase. At the end of July the Trace Gas Orbiter carries out one of the most critical activities during its cruise to Mars: a very large engine burn that changes its direction and speed to intersect the Red Planet on 19 October.
Critical arrival activities begin on 16 October. Prior to dispatching Schiaparelli, TGO will perform a slew, rotating about its axes to a specific orientation in space. About 12 hours after Schiaparelli has separated, TGO will fire its engine to raise its trajectory to several hundred kilometres above the planet. Otherwise, like Schiaparelli, it would also enter the atmosphere.
Thus Schiaparelli will enter the atmosphere and land on Mars on 19 October, while TGO enters orbit around the Red Planet.
Last update: 3 March 2016