A major step towards the realisation of this ambitious robotic programme was completed this week with the selection of two industrial teams to carry out the detailed design of the ExoMars rover and its Pasteur payload of scientific instruments.
The parallel Phase A studies for ExoMars, the first Flagship mission in the Aurora Programme, will be carried out by companies from ESA Member States and Canada. The teams are:
Prime contractor Astrium UK, with subcontractors Galileo Avionica (Italy), Von Hoerner & Sulger (Germany) and SciSys (UK) Prime contractor MD Robotics (Canada), with subcontractors Kayser Threde (Germany), Laben (Italy), Carlo Gavazzi (Italy) and Alcatel Space (France)
"The industrial groups will be responsible for producing a detailed design concept for the rover, the first vehicle of its kind to be built by ESA," said Bruno Gardini, Aurora Project Manager.
"In addition to defining the optimum conceptual design for the rover, they will also be expected to consider the unique operational environment on Mars. The studies will also take into account the design of the Pasteur payload and how the scientific instrument package can best be integrated with such a highly mobile vehicle."
This week's announcement follows the September 2003 selection of two industrial teams to carry out a full, end-to-end mission design for ExoMars. Those contracts cover all phases of the mission, from launch, through the long interplanetary voyage to the landing of the rover on the planet.
ESA has also issued an open announcement or 'Call for Ideas', requesting the participation of the scientific community in the ExoMars mission by proposing a well-defined set of instruments for the Pasteu
Contact: Bruno Gardini
European Space Agency