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NASA to Procure Launch Service Provider for  European Space Agency’s Mars Rover Mission

Expanded collaboration

NASA to Procure Launch Service Provider for European Space Agency’s Mars Rover Mission

The NASA Launch Services Program will secure a U.S. commercial space launch provider for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover mission’s voyage scheduled in 2028 to search for life traces on the Red Planet. The NASA effort is one of the agency’s commitments to its memorandum of understanding signed with ESA on Thursday.

In accordance with the MOU, the rover’s heater units and propulsion system components will also come from NASA. The agency will supply the rover with lightweight radioisotope heaters, banking on its well-established partnership with the Department of Energy on radioisotope power sources.

According to Nicola Fox, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, the capabilities of the Rosalind Franklin rover, which has an onboard samples laboratory, offer “outstanding scientific value” in the probe for life signs on Mars, NASA said Thursday

The agency, through a separate collaboration with the German Aerospace Center and the French space agency CNES, is providing key parts to the ESA rover’s Mars organic molecule analyzer, the main tool for searching life building blocks in Mars soil samples.

The Rosalind Franklin rover mission supplements the Mars Sample Return multi-mission project, on which NASA and ESA are also collaborating.

Category: Space