ExoMars upgrades rover and tests parachute

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The second ExoMars mission, scheduled to launch on the Red Planet in 2022, uses extra time to upgrade some rover tools and prepare for the next high-altitude parachute test.

The dynamic parachute retrieval test campaign was successful. The updated design with lightweight slings and an exit of the dome, as it turned out, avoided breaks at extraction speeds of about 200 km / h, similar to high speeds at which parachutes would be pulled out of their bags during the descent to the surface of Mars.

Now these new ExoMars mission parachute bags are prepared to pass the final high-altitude drop test. However, flight restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic forced these tests to be rescheduled from May to September 2020.

“Thoroughly folding each parachute inside its bag is essential for proper deployment,” explains Thierry Blanket, head of the ExoMars spacecraft systems development team.

Only the folding of the second main parachute, whose diameter is 35 meters, takes more than three days. It will be the largest ever flying on Mars.

A total of six ground tests showed the net retrieval of parachutes from their bags without friction during the test campaign from November 2019 to January 2020 at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, US.

These tests followed the altitude drop test in 2019, during which critical damage to both canopy parachutes was observed.

Two parachutes – each with its own extraction chute – are the key to slowing down the ExoMars module before landing on the Red Planet. In just six minutes, the module should extinguish a speed of about 21,000 km / h at the entrance to the atmosphere and smoothly land on the surface.

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