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ExoMars rover joins Kazachok platform

(8 December 2020 - Roscosmos) The ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover has been mounted on top of the Kazachok surface science platform in stowed configuration, rather similar to how it will journey to Mars in 2022.

The duo were mated in a dedicated clean room at Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Cannes, together forming the so-called ‘landing module’. The latest round of tests include electrical, power and data transfer checks between the two elements.

The landing module will later be integrated inside the descent module for mass balancing checks, together with the carrier module that will transport the mission to Mars. This is not the last time the two flight models will be mated. After completion of the tests in Cannes, the rover will return to the TAS cleanrooms in Turin, Italy, for further functional testing, before being shipped to the launch site in Baikonur.

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In this image, two of the landing platform’s ramps are deployed and one of the solar panels is partially deployed (front left). There are ramps on both sides of the platform; after assessing the area for potential hazards, the rover team can choose to drive Rosalind Franklin forwards or backwards down either of the two ramps to begin its scientific exploration of Mars. (courtesy: Roscosmos)

The mission is targeting a September 2022 launch window, landing on Mars in June 2023. Its goal is to determine the geological history of the landing site at Oxia Planum, once thought to host an ancient ocean, and to determine if life could ever have existed on Mars. The ExoMars programme is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Russian State Space Corporation, Roscosmos.

The integration activities at Cannes were carried out by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space teams.