exomars 2020 parachute deployment sequence

(diagram credit ESA)

With Ars Technica reporting today that a two-year launch delay is likely because of parachute problems, I went looking for details.

ESA press releases linked in the article are not very helpful, referring to "tears", "damage", etc. Is more detailed information available? Photographs / drawings? Most online articles link back to the press releases.


1 Answer 1


Apparently ESA has had major problems in getting the parachutes right

High-altitude tests earlier this year revealed that ExoMars's chutes were tearing as they were pulled from their bags. The European Space Agency (ESA) has turned to NASA colleagues for help, and this week, a joint team began tests to see whether redesigned bags and chutes now work, and if not, why. It could be their last chance to fix the problem and preserve a launch set for next summer—or face 2 years of delay.

The issue was the bags they were stored in

Analysis performed after the two unsuccessful cycles of high-altitude tests in early 2019 showed that the parachute bags, not the parachutes themselves, were the problem that caused the damage to the parachute dome. The ESA redesigned the way parachutes were released from the bags to avoid friction.

It's unclear if this video of a deployment test is one of the failures


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