EXOMARS: the contribution of AOS to the space program

(To air Force)

The mission started this morning from the Russian base in Baikonur, Kazakhstan ExoMars. The engines of the Proton rocket are lit to bring in the Mars orbit the probe and the descent module that will land on the red planet in autumn, thus bringing the first Italian vehicle to Mars. The probe will have the task of analyzing on the planet the quantity of methane on the planet and establish a system of communication with the Earth that works also for future missions.

The realization of this important project also saw a significant contribution from the Italian Air Force. Following an operational technical agreement signed last year between the Experimental Flight Center , Thales Alenia Space Italy(TAS-I), a series of technical tests on the ground and in flight were carried out at the Pratica di Mare Airport for the characterization of the performance and the calibration of the guidance radar of the descent to Mars module, in the scope of the programEuropean Space Agency (ESA).

In particular, during the last summer some tests were conducted on the Radar Altimeter Doppler (RDA), produced by the TAS-I company, installed through a special mechanical interface and experimental instrumentation on a HH212 helicopter of the Experimental Flight Department of the Military Air Force.

The ExoMars It is divided into two phases / 2016 and 2018 missions. The first mission will be of Exploration and Qualification of Technologies. The mission of the 2018 will instead be equipped with a rover that will be sent down to Mars. The rover will be equipped with a drill capable of taking samples up to a depth of two meters below the surface of the Martian soil. The samples will be analyzed with the instruments on board the rover itself and the data obtained will be sent to the orbiting Mars probe, then from this directly to Earth.

The activity is an example of virtuous cooperation and resource optimization and support for Defense, in particular the Military Air Force, against one of the current top spatial programs at European level.