Its first stage, which is called the Trace Gus Path (TGO), begins at the end of this month at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This is the last stop before launching to the Red Planet.
Due to some problems, a later launch date was given (March as opposed to January 2016) and the expedition time was reduced by several months.
This mission will be the first of two planned stages of the ExoMars mission.
The electrical subsystems were installed on Trace Gas Orbitter in November 2014 to help stellar trackers maintain the correct orientation of the ship in space. Instruments for TGO were installed above and below the star sensors.
“This will ensure the optimal placement of all instruments from trackers, regardless of thermal and mechanical distortions in space,” the European Space Agency said in a statement.
TGO solar batteries were tested back in May 2015. These devices are large in area, almost 8 meters long (or 26 feet). The arrays will be folded up until the launch of the spacecraft, or rather until the moment of going into open space, then they will be open when a stable position in space is reached. Solar panels will be the only source of energy.
Landing on Earth!
TGO will also land on the Schiaparelli demo module, which is more formally known as ExoMars Entry. You can see Schiaparelli in more detail by sitting on the top of the cart here (as shown in the photo) by several specialists who are going to associate the device with a crane instead of a boat on the top of the TGO. Schiaparelli will receive additional power from the spacecraft.
In the photo, you can see Schiaparelli mounted on the top of the TGO. While the main function of Schiaparelli is to ensure rapid movement on the surface of Mars, it is necessary to test its operation before starting the module. For this purpose, the short-term mission of Trais Gus Orbiter was prepared. The long-term goal of TGO is to study the atmosphere of Mars for a long time and act as a link between the ExoMars rover and the Earth until 2018.
In the photograph, the TGO is located inside the heat chamber. This is done in order to see how the spacecraft will operate in conditions close to the actual conditions of the space environment.
"In particular, scientists test how the module behaves when the temperature changes in high vacuum (space conditions), and how the module achieves thermal equilibrium," wrote ESA.