ExoMars is the first mission of the ESA program Aurora to enter the final development and realization phase. The ExoMars mission is composed of two parts: 

  • 2016 Mission (ESA lead) with a Russian launch of a satellite (TGO Trace Gas Orbiter) toward Mars with the scope to identify areas with presence of CO2. Always in the 2016 Mission it is foreseen the descent of a demonstrator on the planet surface.
  • 2018 Mission, always with a Russian launch of a carrier module and a descent module bringing on Mars surface the ESA developed ExoMars rover. The ExoMars Rover, after the egress phase from the landing module, will perform a series of technological (drill, locomotion) and scientific activities on the Mars surface. One of the scientific objectives is the research of trace of life on Mars.

For the 2016 mission:

  • Proton launcher
  • The satellite TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter)
  • An Entry Descent and Landing Demonstrator

For the 2018 mission:

  • Proton launcher
  • A skycrane (for the landing of the two rovers)
  • The European rover

For both missions the MOC will be at ESOC and the ground control systems will include the Roscosmos Deep Space Network and the ESA ESTRACK. In the 2018 Mission the rover operations will be managed by the Rover Operation Control Center (ROCC), located in ALTEC.

The picture contains an overview of the elements involved in the missions:

The figure reported hereafter represents the ESA rover:
The robotic rover will have the ability to operate autonomously in order to optimize available resources and maximize the scientific return that is also bound by the time window in which the mission will be accomplished. The robot, in fact, can only operate during the Martian day and will operate on the Martian surface in accordance to the mission planning defined on ground in the ROCC, in order to reach different points to perform the scientific activities.
For more on EXOMARS click here (ESA Site).

The Exomars 2018 mission is organized in the following phases :

  • B Design Phase
  • C Development and Qualification Testing Phase
  • D Flight Model Development and Acceptance Testing Phase
  • E1Launch Campaign, Launch , LEOP and Near-Earth Checkout
  • E2 Cruise Phase Operations
  • E3 Mars Orbit Insertion, Mars Orbit Operations and Mars Entry, Descent and Landing
  • E4 Surface Operations Nominal Mission
  • E5&6 Surface Operations Extended Mission

Constrained by launch fixed date (2018).

ALTEC has the responsibility to design, build and operate the control center for the ExoMars rover (Rover Operations Control Centre – ROCC) located at ALTEC. In addition to that ALTEC will perform remote support during launch, LEOP and Interplanetary cruise. The ROCC will host a team of engineers and scientists and will be the Centre which will be held in all the activities of operational control, engineering support and preliminary scientific analysis relevant to the operations of the rover on the Martian surface. It will be connected to other elements of the ground segment including:

  • ESOC/MOC, via ESOC MOC Data System, during the surface operations to receive and transmit Rover data through the ESA Orbiter Data relay.
  • ESAC, to archive the Scientific data for long term archiving
  • Scientific Community remote sites to dispatch scientific data during mission