The European Space Agency's ExoMars 2016 mission, combining the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli landing demonstrator, launches on a Proton launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

March 14, 2016

The European Space Agency's ExoMars 2016 mission, combining the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli landing demonstrator, launches on a Proton launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The orbiter carries two relay radios provided by NASA.

The mission's March 14, 2016, launch began a voyage to reach Mars in October 2016. The main objectives of this mission are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes and to test key technologies in preparation for ESA's contribution to subsequent missions to Mars.

The orbiter's Electra UHF radios from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are designed for providing communication relay service to rovers and other missions on the surface of Mars. Relay of information from Mars-surface craft to Mars orbiters, then from Mars orbit to Earth, enables receiving much more data from the surface missions than would otherwise be possible.

Credit

ESA

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