[FPSPACE] ESA asks Russia to fill in for NASA to explore Mars
ljk4 at msn.com
Fri Oct 14 20:59:14 EDT 2011
While the U.S. Stalls, Europe Moves On to MarsOct. 14, 2011 | 13:21 PDT | 20:21 UTC By Charlene Anderson
The European Space Agency (ESA) seems to have gotten tired of waiting for NASA to commit to its share of the joint 2016/2018 Mars missions that were planned to lay the groundwork for an eventual delivery of samples of Mars to Earth.
Space News is reporting that, to save the two-mission plan, ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain has formally invited Russia in as a full partner. He's asking the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, to provide its Proton rocket to launch the European Mars telecommunications orbiter and a small lander in 2016.
NASA has told ESA that its budget will not allow it to commit to launching the 2016 mission, and the hoped-for 2018 launch of the ExoMars rover on an Atlas 5 is not confirmed. If Russia accepts ESA's partnership offer, the rover will launch on a Proton.
Full article here: http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003222/
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