The ExoMars is a cooperative project between ESA and Roscosmos. The second part of ExoMars, the Rosalind Franklin rover, is on hold as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However an earlier component, the Trace Gas Orbiter, has been orbiting Mars since 2016.

Russia provided the launcher for the orbiter and was going to launch the rover later this year. It also developed two of the instruments on the orbiter (ACS and FREND). This document suggests that the mission is controlled by the ESA Science Operations Centre (SOC) in Madrid and the Mission Operations Centre (MOC) in Darmstadt.

On the twenty eighth of February the ESA released a statement regarding cooperation with Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine but it doesn't mention any specifics about current, in-flight missions.

How (if at all) has the invasion of Ukraine affected day-to-day operations of the Trace Gas Orbiter, and is Russia in receipt of data from the spacecraft?


1 Answer 1


A March 17, 2022 statement by ESA, has declared the suspension of ExoMars.


ESA’s ruling Council, meeting in Paris on 16-17 March, assessed the situation arising from the war in Ukraine regarding ExoMars, and unanimously:

  • acknowledged the present impossibility of carrying out the ongoing cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover mission with a launch in 2022, and mandated the ESA Director General to take appropriate steps to suspend the cooperation activities accordingly;

  • authorised the ESA Director General to carry out a fast-track industrial study to better define the available options for a way forward to implement the ExoMars rover mission.

Space Transportation

Following the decision by Roscosmos to withdraw their personnel from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, all missions scheduled for launch by Soyuz have been put on hold. These concern essentially four institutional missions for which ESA is the launch service procurement entity (Galileo M10, Galileo M11, Euclid and EarthCare) and one additional institutional launch.

Consequently, the ESA Director General has initiated an assessment on potential alternative launch services for these missions, which will include a review of the Ariane 6 first exploitation flights. A robust launch manifest for ESA missions’ launch needs, including for spacecraft originally planned for launch by Soyuz from Kourou, will be submitted to Member States.

The International Space Station

The International Space Station Programme continues to operate nominally. The main goal is to continue safe operations of the ISS, including maintaining the safety of the crew.

Way forward

Based on a first analysis of technical and programmatic impacts on all other activities affected by the war in Ukraine, the Director General intends to convene an extraordinary session of Council in the coming weeks to submit specific proposals for decision by Member States.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ That's a useful update on their statement of the 28th of February, but it doesn't seem to address the ongoing operations of the Trace Gas Orbiter $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2022 at 10:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.