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Thales Alenia Space delivers key element for ExoMars 2020
ExoMars Rover. © Thales Alenia Space

Thales Alenia Space delivers key element for ExoMars 2020

Thales Alenia Space in the UK has delivered flight-approved Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) to Airbus Defence and Space for the ExoMars 2020 mission, due to launch in July 2020.

Thales Alenia Space in the UK has delivered flight-approved Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) to Airbus Defence and Space for integration with the ExoMars Rover. The ExoMars 2020 mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 and arrive at Mars nine months later.

Exomars is an international cooperative project between ESA (European Space Agency) and Roscosmos (Russian Space Agency). Thales Alenia Space, a JV between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), is prime contractor for the overall programme.

The ExoMars Rover will be the first to drill 2 meters down below the red planet’s surface, to look for traces of past or present life and retrieve samples.  The IMU enables the Rover’s navigation during its mission, providing critical data on orientation, speed and direction.

Designed, built and tested in Thales Alenia Space’s advanced facilities in Bristol, UK, the next-generation IMUs utilise a new modular concept that provides three-axis orientation, angular rate, velocity and acceleration measurement.  The technology incorporates very high-performance Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMs) which have been qualified for spaceflight.

The technology is constantly being improved by Thales Alenia Space through its use in satellite constellations and geostationary communications satellites.

On the 2020 mission, Thales Alenia Space in Italy, is in charge of the design, development and verification of the entire system, as well as development of the Carrier Module (CM) navigation and guidance system, the entry, descent and landing/guidance navigation and control (EDL/GNC) package and the Rover System, including the Analytical Laboratory Drawer (ALD). It is also supplying parts for the descent module, including the radar altimeter.

In addition, Thales Alenia Space in Italy is cooperating closely with Lavochkin for the development of the Descent Module (DM). The Rover Vehicle itself is provided by Airbus Defence and Space in the UK.

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