The largest-ever parachute ExoMars that is scheduled to land on the surface of Mars in 2021 has passed its starting test. The weight of this parachute is 90 kilograms while its ring slot is 35 meters across. Additionally, it has 5 kilometers of cords.
The European Space Agency handles all the operations related to this project. As per the official released by this space agency, they have to work for five working days just for preparing & folding ExoMars into its right configuration.
In this test, the sample landing module weighing 500 KG was carried by helicopter to a height of approximately 4,000 feet from where it dropped. The deployment sequence of the parachute initiated after a 12-second free fall. The smaller pilot chute opened from here that trigged the opening of the main parachute. It takes 112 lines to connect the test landing module with the complete parachute system weighing 195 KG.
According to the ExoMars engineer Stephane Langlois, the main motive of this process was to know the way the extraction of the parachute from the bag. Additionally, we were also looking to know about the parachute’s first inflation. He further added that our team doesn’t try to represent the atmosphere of Mars here. To do that, we have to go to a very higher that we have planned to perform in another test taking place later.
There are many GoPro cameras installed on the test module so that the deployment of two parachutes can monitor. According to researchers, technicians were getting telemetry data that will review along with the camera footage before moving on to the next test that will happen in the later part of the year.
Also, a video released by the ExoMars project manager Thierry Bancquaert where he said that it is a major milestone in this project as our ExoMars parachute has successfully deployed with the help of a tiny pilot chute without any damage.
Another statement released by the John Underwood, principal engineer of British contractor who created the parachute. He says that the complete system will carry by using a helium balloon in the upcoming test to a height of 17 miles. At this altitude, the atmosphere of Earth is same as of Mars.
The scheduled launch date of the ExoMars mission is July 2020 with a possible landing in March 2021.