ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter & Schiaparelli arrive

ExoMarsThe European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and accompanying Schiaparelli Entry Demonstration Lander arrive at the red planet, with the orbiter successfully completing a lengthy engine burn to put it into orbit around Mars; it is the second ESA orbiter to reach Mars, with Mars Express still operating in an elliptical polar orbit. The lander, however, is not so lucky in reaching its goal: its signal, monitored both by the Trace Gas Orbiter and by Mars Express, abruptly ends near the surface; later analysis, and a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sighting of debris on Mars, lead ESA engineers to conclude that the lander’s parachute was jettisoned too soon, leaving it to plummet to the ground. This is but the first wave of an expected ExoMars program, a joint venture between ESA and the Russian space program.