Roscosmos And The ESA Will Sign An Agreement On The ExoMars Project
The Russian space agency Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) are going to sign an agreement on the ExoMars project on March 15. During the meeting of Vladimir Popovkin (the head of Roscosmos) with Jean-Jacques Dordain (ESA boss), the final wording of the Russian and English agreement texts was affirmed. The ExoMars project foresees the launch of an orbital probe to Mars and a landing on the Martian surface of a lander module in 2016. A Martian “rover” probe will explore the surface of the planet in 2018. Initially NASA had planned to take part in the ExoMars project, but after the ESA proposed Roscosmos’ involvement, NASA rejected to provide its Atlas carrier for the launch. Russia offered to provide Proton carrier rockets for the launches and scientific equipment in exchange for full membership and finally the ESA’s management board approved the project.