ExoMars 2016 fairing release. Credit: ESA
The next flight to the Red Planet will depart at 09:31 GMT (10:31 CET) on 14 March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Representatives of the media are invited by ESA to follow the event live from ESA’s Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Can’t make it in person? Design & Data will be supporting ESA with the livestream.
The ExoMars 2016 mission, a joint endeavour between ESA and Roscosmos, comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli, an entry, descent and landing demonstrator. TGO will analyse Mars’ atmosphere, looking closely at rare gases such as methane, which is an indicator for life. Meanwhile, Schiaparelli will demonstrate a wide range of technologies to support a controlled landing on Mars for future missions.
Social-savvy users can follow the live updates throughout the launch window with the hashtag #ExoMars and by following @ESA_ExoMars, @esaoperations and @esascience on Twitter. Once mission control has established contact with the TGO following fourth stage separation the @ESA_TGO account will become active and provide the last up-to-date information about the orbiter.