ESA Member States give green light to ExoMars programme
17 Dec 2009The ESA Council has just given the go-ahead to proceed with the implementation of the ExoMars Programme. This decision paves the way for two Mars exploration missions in cooperation with NASA in 2016 and 2018.
Two missions are foreseen within the ExoMars programme: one consisting of an Orbiter plus an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator (to be launched in 2016) and the other consisting of two rovers (to be launched in 2018).
ESA's Council of Ministers approved the subscription of 850 million euro to the ExoMars programme at a meeting held 16 and 17 December at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.
Following the decision, David Southwood, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration said: "This marks an important moment for Europe in its steps towards space exploration on the world scale. We have been to the planets before, sure. But now we have a plan for exploration ahead to build our technical capability and explore Mars in a long-term partnership."
Thirteen of ESA's 18 Member States are participating in the ExoMars Programme: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, plus Canada.