News archive

News archive

The Mars Express project has moved from the drawing board to the test bench. The first piece of hardware, a unit for the on-board computer, has been delivered to the prime contractor, Matra Marconi Space (MMS), Toulouse.
Published: 23 January 2000
Construction of the Mars Express spacecraft can now begin, after final approval for the design was granted on Tuesday. A meeting chaired by Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of Scientific Programmes, and Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director for Science Strategy and Technical Assessment, gave the approval after hearing a presentation on the findings of the science and engineering review team. The review team had endorsed the Mars Express design last December, after spending a week poring over the plans at the offices of Matra Marconi Space (MMS) in Toulouse. Starsem, the company that is providing the Fregat-Soyuz launcher, and MMS also presented their latest activities yesterday.
Published: 12 January 2000
"Our hearts go out to our colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory over the probable loss of Mars Polar Lander," Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express project manager said today. "But risk will always be part of any space mission. We at Mars Express will forge ahead, taking on board all the lessons that we can from the polar lander failure."
Published: 7 December 1999
"Our hearts go out to our colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory over the probable loss of Mars Polar Lander," Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express project manager said today. "But risk will always be part of any space mission. We at Mars Express will forge ahead, taking on board all the lessons that we can from the polar lander failure."
Published: 7 December 1999
The technical design for Mars Express took an important step towards approval last month. A team of 15 space engineers from ESTEC, who are not involved in the project, gave the design the thumbs up after spending a week scrutinising it at the prime contractor's, Matra Marconi Space (MMS), Toulouse. "The team went to Matra to turn the design upside down and find weak points. They didn't find any show stoppers," says Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager.
Published: 6 December 1999
Just before NASA's Mars Polar Lander bounces to a gentle halt on Mars tomorrow, it will jettison two small probes that will crash into the planet and penetrate its surface. Four years later, in December 2003, another probe will land on the red planet to take a look underground. Called Beagle 2, it will hitch a ride to Mars on Europe's Mars Express mission. NASA's probes will be looking mainly for water and ice, but Beagle 2 will also be searching for the signs of life.
Published: 1 December 1999
The Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency at its meeting on 9-10 November 1999 re-confirmed the payload of the Mars Express mission as approved in May 1998, with two important additions:
Published: 10 November 1999
The Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, is technically ready to go to the nextstage. That is the conclusion of two reviews held in Stevenage, UK lastweek. The reviews' recommendations will go before ESA's Science ProgrammeCommittee (SPC) for endorsement on 10 November.
Published: 26 October 1999
Mars Express is the outcome of more than ten years of planning by ESA and the European space science community, Agustin Chicarro, Mars Express Project Scientist told the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology in Moscow last week.
Published: 20 October 1999
The low cost of Mars Express will have "no impact on the mission's success", Philippe Moulinier, Manager of the Division for New Generation Programmes at Matra Marconi Space, Toulouse, told a session of the 50th International Astronautical Congress in Amsterdam on Monday. Moulinier has overall responsibility for the Mars Express contract at MMS, the prime contractor. He was presenting information in support of a talk given by Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager at ESTEC.*
Published: 6 October 1999
The scientists who are building instruments for Mars Express met in ESTEC last week for the final science working team meeting before the spacecraft and instrument designs are frozen at the end of the year. Over the next few weeks, each instrument and the spacecraft itself will undergo a "preliminary design review" (PDR), which marks the end of the design phase (Phase B) before construction (Phase C) begins early next year. The meeting was an opportunity for the science team to discuss progress on resolving the few remaining hardware design issues and to move on to the difficult task of planning the mission and science operations in detail.
Published: 5 October 1999
Rudi Schmidt and Agustin Chicarro, Project Manager and Project Scientist for Mars Express, have a busy month ahead explaining the mission's philosophy and goals at the season's most prominent conferences. Mars Express - ESA's approach to the implementation of a small mission will be the subject of Schmidt's talk to the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) 50th Anniversary Congress* in Amsterdam next week. Chicarro will outline the mission's scientific goals at the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology* in Moscow, also next week, and at the Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)* in Padova, Italy the following week.
Published: 1 October 1999
Students at the annual Alpbach Summer School on Space Research and Technology proposed the use of a Zeppelin as a highly versatile vehicle to explore Mars. Space scientists so far had concentrated their efforts on rovers, balloons or planes - i.e. systems that are bound to the surface, free-flying but not steerable or too fast for detailed local investigations.
Published: 19 August 1999
The announcement of an extra #5 million of UK government money for the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, puts the project firmly on track to secure full funding from a mixture of public and private sources. When announcing the extra finance at the Science Museum in London yesterday morning, the UK science minister, Lord Sainsbury, described Beagle 2 as "world class science". "It will demonstrate a remarkable public/private partnership and will bring scientists and industrialists into a closer relationship," he said.
Published: 4 August 1999
The Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first man in orbit, the American Neil Armstrong the first man on the Moon, on 21 July 1969. Is there a chance that the first human being to set foot on Mars will be a European? Attendants at the 1999 Alpbach Summer School will be putting their minds to this challenging question.
Published: 22 July 1999
The European Space Agency and the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) have agreed to open up their Mars missions to each other's scientists. European principal investigators on ESA's Mars Express mission are due to travel to Japan later this year to learn about the science on ISAS' Nozomi mission. Their Japanese equivalents will visit Europe to learn about Mars Express next year. "We are setting up a joint programme of Mars exploration between ESA and ISAS which links the two agencies as equal partners," says Agustin Chicarro, project scientist for Mars Express at ESTEC, ESA's technical centre in The Netherlands.
Published: 16 July 1999
A new design for the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, was revealed to the public last month at the Le Bourget airshow in Paris and at the Royal Society and Tomorrow's World exhibitions in London. The pyramid of the previous model is out: something resembling a clam shell or a large pill box is in.
Published: 9 July 1999
Some of the clearest pictures of Mars ever were captured by the HubbleSpace Telescope during the planet's recent closest approach to Earth. NASA made them public to commemorate thesecond anniversary of the landing of its Mars Pathfinder mission.
Published: 2 July 1999
Visitors to the Paris air show this week can escape the roar of jets for the peace of a martian landscape. Only two small space probes disturb the tranquil atmosphere in the exhibit inside the pavilion stand by ESA, the French space agency, CNES, and Arianespace. The probes represent Beagle 2 for launch on ESA's Mars Express mission in 2003 and one of four probes to be launched as part of the CNES Netlander mission in 2005. A press conference yesterday morning heard how the two missions will cooperate to put Europe at the heart of Mars exploration early next century.
Published: 16 June 1999
At the Paris Air Show yesterday the contract for the launch of ESA's Mars Express by the Euro-Russian Starsem was signed by Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of the Scientific Programme and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of Starsem. With the signing of this launch contract the major constituents of Europe's first mission to Mars are in place.
Published: 15 June 1999
28-Nov-2020 14:12 UT

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