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6th June 2019, Volketswil

ExoMars-Rover ready for Mars mission

Scheurer Swiss provided extensive production support. © Scheurer Swiss

Scheurer Swiss provided extensive production support. © Scheurer Swiss

RUAG Space has partnered with Scheurer Swiss, renowned for its many years of expertise in fibre composite technologies, for the development and construction of the ExoMars-Rover. “Scheurer Swiss has actively supported RUAG Space in an advisory and operational capacity,” said CEO Dominik Scheurer.

“In particular as engineering partner for the development of the carbon fibre chassis of the rover and in advance as consultant in the course of the acquisition of a suitable laser system for the purpose of the lamination process of the aforementioned carbon fibre chassis. Scheurer Swiss also provided extensive production support by successfully placing its specialised and competent specialists to RUAG Space, deploying them directly on site under the leadership of our experienced CTO Robert Tween.”

European space project

In addition to Switzerland, other nations, such as England, are also part of the European space project and are developing, on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) under the direction of RUAG Space and Airbus Defence and Space, the suspension and carbon fibre chassis of the Mars rover named after the famous British biochemist Rosalind Franklin, which will begin its journey to the red planet in 2020. The finished suspension of the prospective Martian is currently in the RUAG Space test centre in Zurich and will be put through its paces using suitable substrates and scenarios.

At the same time, the brand-new control centre for the ExoMars-Rover – the Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC) – was inaugurated in Turin, Italy. It is one of the largest European Martian shipyards and will be the operational hub which will coordinate the activities and drilling of the European-built laboratory on wheels upon arrival on the surface of Mars and will test them in advance on Earth in a controlled manner after the individual rover components will have been extensively tested in the respective countries and then assembled to form the complete ExoMars rover.

“This is the crucial place on Earth from where we will listen to the rover’s instruments, see what she sees and send commands to direct the search for evidence of life on and under the surface,” said Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General. The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to both move across the Mars surface and to study it at depth with a drill able to collect samples from down to two metres into the surface.

Managing rover’s activities

“Thanks to ROCC, Europe will have the great opportunity to manage the activities of the rover on Mars and to plan and test its movements,” said Giorgio Saccoccia, President of the Italian space Agency ASI during the opening ceremony. “This will be the first step towards new robotic missions for the study of Mars and other celestial bodies.”

The facilities will be buzzing with activity from July 2020, when a Proton rocket will insert the ExoMars spacecraft in an eight-month long interplanetary cruise, marking the beginning of an ambitious, scientific and robotic exploration mission.

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