The orbital paths of ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator, and Mars Express on 19 October 2016, when TGO and Schiaparelli arrive at Mars.
At the start of the animation, TGO and Schiaparelli are shown already separated, which is set to occur at 14:42 GMT (16:42 CEST) on 16 October.
The animation covers the time between about 12:30 GMT (14:30 CEST) and 19:00 GMT (21:00 CEST) on 19 October, including the expected time of Schiaparelli touch down at 14:47 GMT (16:47 CEST) and the critical, 139 min TGO orbit insertion engine burn, ending at 15:34 GMT (17:34 CEST).
At the end of the animation, TGO has been captured into Mars orbit and is seen starting its first circuit, expected to be highly elliptical, varying from about 300 km to 96 000 km above the planet and taking four martian days (each day equal to 24 h 39 min) to complete one revolution.
Mars Express is seen in its current polar orbit, from which it will have good visibility of Schiaparelli's descent and landing starting with atmosphere entry at 14:53 GMT (16:43 CEST). Mars Express will record signals from Schiaparelli during arrival, providing a critical record of the module’s descent progress, trajectory and landing.