An employee prepares a Proton-M heavy-lift launch vehicle, part of the ExoMars mission. Mikhail JaparidzeTASS via Getty Images
- EU sanctions against Russia are likely to delay the launch of the ExoMars mission.
- The European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos are responsible for the key components of the mission.
- A delay this summer could mean two years of waiting for the next opportunity.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The European Space Agency said a planned Russia-Europe mission to Mars, scheduled for this summer, is unlikely to continue as a result of sanctions imposed by Western governments following the invasion of Ukraine.
EU sanctions against Russia are likely to delay the ExoMars mission with ESA says in a statement that it complies with the measures imposed on Russia, which target everything from finance to technology.
“We deplore the human losses and the tragic consequences of the war in Ukraine,” ESA said.
“As for the continuation of the ExoMars program, the sanctions and the wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely,” it said. “The Director – General of the ESA will analyze all options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward for the ESA Member States.”
ESA told Insider it could not comment further beyond what it said in its statement.
The head of the Russian state space company Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, responded to the announcement and wrote in Russian d. his Twitter and Telegram channels: “The European Space Agency, despite the Russian grandmother, decided to freeze her ears.”
The ExoMars mission involves the launch of a robotic rover called Rosalind Franklin to explore the surface of Mars, a program ESA had been working on with Roscosmos for the past 10 years, It reported The Verge. The first phase of the mission began in 2016, when the team launched a spacecraft and a test lander. The spacecraft has since been in orbit around Mars, but it the test lander crashed.
ESA and Roscosmos are responsible for key components of the current Rosalind Franklin rover mission, according to The Verge. The rover, designed to dig into the surface of Mars to test for signs of life, was built by ESA, while Russia has provided both the landing gear and the rocket to fire the mission.
ESA’s announcement follows Russia’s recent decision, in response to EU sanctions, that suspend the launches of its Soyuz rocket from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, and withdraw its personnel there. Russia is also withdrawing from its collaboration with NASA on a joint mission to Venus.
A delay in the ExoMars launch this summer could mean a significant wait for the next opportunity. Missions to Mars can take place about once every two years when conditions allow vessels to reach the red planet effectively from Earth, ESA says in its website.
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It is unlikely that the Europe-Russia Mars mission will be launched this year as a result of sanctions, says space agency
Source link It is unlikely that the Europe-Russia Mars mission will be launched this year as a result of sanctions, says space agency