The model of the ExoMars landing module survived the high-altitude drop test, but the parachute problem that has plagued the European/Russian Mars mission for many years has not been completely resolved.
During the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars life-seeking rover landing on Mars in 2023, the 35-meter (115-foot) parachute that will slow its speed suffered “minor damage” in the latest high-altitude drop test. Bureau officials said in a statement. statement. The
parachute problem that failed in the drop test before 2019 and 2020 is the main reason why the mission was postponed from the previous launch date in 2020 to September 2022.
The second stage parachute will be opened after the lander. The European Space Agency stated in a statement that during the tests conducted at the Esplanche Space Center in Kiruna, Sweden from June 24 to 26, the ExoMars landing pad model decelerated to subsonic speed, but it still slowed down as expected .
During the test, a helium-filled balloon lifted the capsule to a height of 29 kilometers (18 miles). The lander model was discarded, and the smallest 50-foot (15 m) supersonic parachute was first released, followed by the large subsonic parachute. The European Space Agency said in a statement that the conditions during the test perfectly simulated the pressure on the parachute when it landed on Mars.
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Although the supersonic parachute in the first stage is working properly, the larger subsonic parachute is in There was some damage during the test
” Thierry Blancquaert, the team leader of the ExoMars project, said in a statement: “The performance of the second main parachute is not perfect, but due to the damage to the backpack and the hood. Adjusted, its performance has been greatly improved (compared to the previous test). “After gently removing the bag, we accidentally left the test line during the final inflation process.” The
pilot parachute is a small auxiliary parachute that deploys the main parachute. In the case of the ExoMars landing platform, each of the two braking parachutes has a pilot parachute for deploying it.
According to Blancquaert, the 115-foot subsonic parachute canopy was under excessive pressure due to the pilot’s slope problem.
“This caused a tear contained in the Kevlar reinforcement ring,” Blancquaert said in the statement. Although there was no problem with the supersonic parachute in the first stage, the larger subsonic parachute was somewhat damaged during the test. The second main parachute is not perfect, but due to adjustments to the bag and canopy, it has improved a lot (compared to previous tests),” said Thierry Blanchardt, the team leader of the ExoMars project, in The statement said. Gently remove the bag and we experienced an accidental detachment of the pilot catheter during the final inflation. “The
Pilot Parachute is a small auxiliary parachute used to deploy the main parachute. In the case of the ExoMars landing pad, each of the two parachutes has its pilot parachute deployed.
According to Blancquaert, the 115-foot subsonic parachute canopy was under excessive pressure due to the pilot’s slope problem.
“This caused a tear contained in the Kevlar reinforcement ring,” Blancquaert said in the statement.
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ESA stated that the parachute team will investigate the problem and try to find a solution before the next series of drop tests scheduled for October and November this year. After
failed tests in 2019 and 2020, ESA turned to engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, who designed parachutes for Perseverance and Curiosity detectors. The JPL team helped improve the design and tested parachutes at their ground facilities, which use compressed air to simulate free fall.
ESA stated that they will work with JPL again to resolve the remaining issues. The agency also stated that they ordered replacement parachutes from the US manufacturer Airborne Systems, which makes parachutes for Perseverance. The
landing system has always been a major problem for ExoMars, a joint mission between ESA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos. In 2016, the ExoMars Schiaparelli test lander crashed on Mars after its onboard computer incorrectly calculated its distance to the ground. The accident investigation found that the spacecraft began to spin after the parachute was opened, bypassing the navigation and control system software.
During its descent to Mars, the lander entered Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 13,000 mph (21,000 km / h), but this thin atmosphere alone cannot slow the spacecraft enough to achieve a landing. gentle. In the case of ExoMars, the capsule will first use its heat shield to slow down and then deploy the supersonic parachute. After a further deceleration below the speed of sound, the large parachute will deploy. The spaceship will finally land with the help of a rocket launched backwards.
“We are pleased to report that the first main parachute is working very well-we have a supersonic parachute design that can fly to Mars,” Blanquiert said in the statement. “There are at least two opportunities to try this parachute design to gain more confidence.”
So far, only the United States and China have successfully landed on Mars. The first attempt in Europe, the British-made Beagle 2 lander landed safely, but never transmitted any signal. In 2015, the probe was found in an image taken by the HiRISE camera on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image showed that the lander’s solar panels were not properly deployed, causing its main communication antenna to be covered and unable to call home.

 

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