Author Topic: ESA/Roscomos - ExoMars 2020 (Rover + Surface Platform) - updates  (Read 37734 times)

Offline savuporo

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I think that's an excellent point--the Russians are a new partner here.

They are not, entirely ? ESA member and Russians have collaborated on multiple planetary missions before, going back as far as Vega probes.
I believe that the ExoMars 2020 mission is an order of magnitude more complicated interface than those earlier missions.  Even the 2016 orbiter was much simpler.  ESA built the orbiter, the Russians specific whole instruments, and the Russions supplied the launcher.  All systems with straightforward interfaces.  The 2020 lander system is, as I understand it, a joint development.

Yeah i totally understand that, i'm pretty intrigued about how AVIO is building and testing the avionics for a Lavochkin built lander exactly, and where exactly is the hand off. So yes interfaces are more complex, but it seems like a gradual progression, not a cold start.
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Offline baldusi

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I think that's an excellent point--the Russians are a new partner here.

They are not, entirely ? ESA member and Russians have collaborated on multiple planetary missions before, going back as far as Vega probes.
I believe that the ExoMars 2020 mission is an order of magnitude more complicated interface than those earlier missions.  Even the 2016 orbiter was much simpler.  ESA built the orbiter, the Russians specific whole instruments, and the Russions supplied the launcher.  All systems with straightforward interfaces.  The 2020 lander system is, as I understand it, a joint development.

Yeah i totally understand that, i'm pretty intrigued about how AVIO is building and testing the avionics for a Lavochkin built lander exactly, and where exactly is the hand off. So yes interfaces are more complex, but it seems like a gradual progression, not a cold start.
Didn't AVIO worked with KBKhA on the MIRA engine project? AVIO must have quite a bit of experience there. And Thales and Airbus are usually payload partners on Russian GEO comm sats. So some experience is there. But EDL and rover? That's not the core of European nor current Russian scientists.

Offline Don2

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This is another example of an overambitious aerospace project heading down the well worn path of schedule overruns and cost blowouts. In many ways it is not a lot less ambitious than Curiosity, but the Europeans are telling themselves that they are going to build Exomars for a lot less. A MER class rover would be much more suited to European skills and budgets.
I think that's kind of an insulting comment to European scientists and engineers, I guess you must have missed successful missions such as Rosetta. This is a complex project and delay was always a possibility, but this is as much an issue with funding by their political masters as anything.

I don't see how this is insulting to Europeans. NASA came into the 90s with some left over competency from Viking and Apollo. They built from Pathfinder through Polar Lander, the MER rovers and Phoenix to Curiosity. Rob Manning in his book stated that Curiosity wouldn't have worked without the expertise that NASA had built up on earlier projects. I don't think it is insulting to Europeans to say that they should be trying to build competency in the same way that the US did.

There is also an industrial base issue. Rosetta is a spacecraft that is dependent on electro-optical instrumentation. Weather satellites, earth observing spacecraft and astronomy missions are built with a similar set of skills as Rosetta. The radio and solar panel technologies come from communications spacecraft.

Landers and rovers are a very different breed from orbiters like Rosetta. The instrumentation and sample handling systems for rovers are highly specialized. I can't think of any other industry that uses similar technology. Entry, descent and landing also requires a very specialized set of skills, which are really only shared by ICBM programs and human spaceflight. Apart from a French SLBM program, the Europeans have no expertise in this area.

Building the very specialized industrial skills needed for Mars rovers only really makes sense if it is part of a long term program of rovers and landers. Sometimes NASA gets it right, and if Europe wants successful Mars landings they are going to have to make the same commitment. At present, Exomars appears to be a one off project.

Offline Star One

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This is another example of an overambitious aerospace project heading down the well worn path of schedule overruns and cost blowouts. In many ways it is not a lot less ambitious than Curiosity, but the Europeans are telling themselves that they are going to build Exomars for a lot less. A MER class rover would be much more suited to European skills and budgets.
I think that's kind of an insulting comment to European scientists and engineers, I guess you must have missed successful missions such as Rosetta. This is a complex project and delay was always a possibility, but this is as much an issue with funding by their political masters as anything.

I don't see how this is insulting to Europeans. NASA came into the 90s with some left over competency from Viking and Apollo. They built from Pathfinder through Polar Lander, the MER rovers and Phoenix to Curiosity. Rob Manning in his book stated that Curiosity wouldn't have worked without the expertise that NASA had built up on earlier projects. I don't think it is insulting to Europeans to say that they should be trying to build competency in the same way that the US did.

There is also an industrial base issue. Rosetta is a spacecraft that is dependent on electro-optical instrumentation. Weather satellites, earth observing spacecraft and astronomy missions are built with a similar set of skills as Rosetta. The radio and solar panel technologies come from communications spacecraft.

Landers and rovers are a very different breed from orbiters like Rosetta. The instrumentation and sample handling systems for rovers are highly specialized. I can't think of any other industry that uses similar technology. Entry, descent and landing also requires a very specialized set of skills, which are really only shared by ICBM programs and human spaceflight. Apart from a French SLBM program, the Europeans have no expertise in this area.

Building the very specialized industrial skills needed for Mars rovers only really makes sense if it is part of a long term program of rovers and landers. Sometimes NASA gets it right, and if Europe wants successful Mars landings they are going to have to make the same commitment. At present, Exomars appears to be a one off project.
You seem to be ignoring the Russian side's long experience in such matters in all of this. Yes they've had troubles in recent times but it does annoy me when people ignore their long history in spaceflight. Doesn't that count for anything?

Offline savuporo

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Landers and rovers are a very different breed from orbiters like Rosetta. The instrumentation and sample handling systems for rovers are highly specialized....

One word: Huygens. Well, actually .. Vega, Philae, Giotto ..
« Last Edit: 05/06/2016 10:09 PM by savuporo »
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Offline Dalhousie

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Entry, descent and landing also requires a very specialized set of skills, which are really only shared by ICBM programs and human spaceflight. Apart from a French SLBM program, the Europeans have no expertise in this area.

Quite a bit more than that.  There have been programs such as EXPERT, IXV, ARD SHEFEX, and others planetary landers such as Huygens and Beagle 2. The UK has built and tested many ballistic missile warheads over the past 50 years.
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Offline Don2

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Before you get too harsh on ESA, what became Curiosity was endorsed by the Decadal Survey as a modest-cost rover technology demonstration mission.

It seems that Mars rover missions have a way of expanding, regardless of the space agency.  NASA has the advantage of a single funding source while ESA, for this voluntary program, must negotiate among a number of member states.

Space science flagships in general have a way of growing in cost and ambition. As a replacement for Hubble, the science community originally asked for a 4m diameter mirror which was cool but not cryogenic. Somehow that morphed into the 6.5m deployable cryogenic monster we have today. At the present, Europa Clipper seems to be in the process of gaining a lander, while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

Offline Don2

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Entry, descent and landing also requires a very specialized set of skills, which are really only shared by ICBM programs and human spaceflight. Apart from a French SLBM program, the Europeans have no expertise in this area.

Quite a bit more than that.  There have been programs such as EXPERT, IXV, ARD SHEFEX, and others planetary landers such as Huygens and Beagle 2. The UK has built and tested many ballistic missile warheads over the past 50 years.

The UK bought the Trident SLBM system off the shelf from the US. The bomb or physics package they build themselves at Aldermaston.  I'm not sure about the re-entry vehicle.

Beagle 2 was a failure so that doesn't count. Huygens was simpler because they could just float down under a parachute and that didn't require an accurate landing.

Offline Blackstar

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The UK bought the Trident SLBM system off the shelf from the US. The bomb or physics package they build themselves at Aldermaston.  I'm not sure about the re-entry vehicle.

They spent a huge amount of money developing the Chevaline countermeasures system for Polaris. Gave them a lot of experience, including experience in how things can get a bit out of control in large technology development projects.

Offline Blackstar

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while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

I don't think the drone is part of the baseline package. It's still being talked about, not built.

Offline Blackstar

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You seem to be ignoring the Russian side's long experience in such matters in all of this. Yes they've had troubles in recent times but it does annoy me when people ignore their long history in spaceflight. Doesn't that count for anything?

Depends upon the area you mean. Launch vehicles and human spacecraft they have excellent stills, although not cutting edge technology in all areas. But for planetary spacecraft they had experience, but they've lost that expertise and skillset, not to mention people (many of whom either left the field entirely or went to work in Europe or the U.S.). That's a problem area, and I imagine that the Europeans are double-checking the Russian work.

This is something that the U.S. science and engineering community is conscious of--if you don't use it, you lose it. After Curiosity landed there were a lot of people pointing out that the U.S. had spent a lot of time and money and effort building up that Mars EDL skillset, and those people would soon be scattered to the four winds working on other projects. If you don't keep the team together and working on something, they go away.

Offline Don2

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You seem to be ignoring the Russian side's long experience in such matters in all of this. Yes they've had troubles in recent times but it does annoy me when people ignore their long history in spaceflight. Doesn't that count for anything?

The Russians are living off of hardware that was developed by previous generations. Engineering competence is a very perishable commodity and today's Russians clearly don't have the the kind of skills that their grandfathers did in the 1960s.

It is a very long time since they had a really successful planetary mission. I think you have to go back to the 1980s Vega missions. Obviously their Soyuz program requires EDL technology, and that performs well, but are they really up to the task of building something new rather than just flying designs that they inherited?

@Blackstar...I remember reading something about Chevaline. Whatever that really was, it was reputedly very costly. It was also a 70s or 80s era program, so whatever skills were built have probably dissipated by now.

Offline Don2

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I've read that ESA and Russia have found that their management, design, and testing methods are quite different.  Also, given the nature of the landing system, it has proven harded to have clean interfaces.  As a result, progress has been slower as the two organizations work out how to work together productively.  Any future cooperative missions will benefit from these learnings.

These rumors about not having clean interfaces between ESA and Russia leaves me wondering about how likely the Schiaparelli lander is to work. Culture clashes and unclear responsibilities are a good recipe for program failure. All it took was a small misunderstanding involving units of measurement between NASA and a contractor to doom the Mars Climate Orbiter.

The European system is messy, but the Europeans have huge experience of working together on programs such as Airbus, Eurofighter and CERN among others. That experience doesn't extend to working with the Russians. There has been very little collaboration between Russia and Europe in the past. I'm struggling to think of any major programs that the two sides have carried out together.

Offline Dalhousie

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Entry, descent and landing also requires a very specialized set of skills, which are really only shared by ICBM programs and human spaceflight. Apart from a French SLBM program, the Europeans have no expertise in this area.

Quite a bit more than that.  There have been programs such as EXPERT, IXV, ARD SHEFEX, and others planetary landers such as Huygens and Beagle 2. The UK has built and tested many ballistic missile warheads over the past 50 years.

The UK bought the Trident SLBM system off the shelf from the US. The bomb or physics package they build themselves at Aldermaston.  I'm not sure about the re-entry vehicle.

The entry vehicles (Chevaline), was UK developed (as Blackstar said), experience on designing and building entry vehicles in the UK goes back to the early 50s.

Quote
Beagle 2 was a failure so that doesn't count. Huygens was simpler because they could just float down under a parachute and that didn't require an accurate landing.

Failures do count, provided you earn from them.  Any many aspects of Beagle 2 did work, including entry and parachute deployment, perhaps even the landing.  Only the surface deployments seems to have failed.

Huygens may well have been simple, but it is still provide valuable experience in EDL.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 09:27 PM by Dalhousie »
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Offline as58

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Space science flagships in general have a way of growing in cost and ambition. As a replacement for Hubble, the science community originally asked for a 4m diameter mirror which was cool but not cryogenic. Somehow that morphed into the 6.5m deployable cryogenic monster we have today. At the present, Europa Clipper seems to be in the process of gaining a lander, while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

JWST is passively cooled, so I wouldn't call it cryogenic (Spitzer, on the other hand, was cryogenic during its primary mission). As far as I know the goal was always to make the optics as cold as practicable in a passively cooled telescope.

Offline Star One

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while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

I don't think the drone is part of the baseline package. It's still being talked about, not built.
Anyway it's a helicopter rather than a drone if we are going to be pedantic.:)
« Last Edit: 05/07/2016 07:24 AM by Star One »

Offline Blackstar

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while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

I don't think the drone is part of the baseline package. It's still being talked about, not built.
Anyway it's a helicopter rather than a drone if we are going to be pedantic.:)


Oh, don't get me started on the pedantry of this--having worked some aeronautics studies, we were admonished that we should never use "drone" even though that's what everybody knows. Instead it's UAS, or sometimes UAV, or sometimes some other acronym that somebody invented and hopes catches on. I just stopped caring.


Offline Star One

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while Mars 2020 has added a drone.

I don't think the drone is part of the baseline package. It's still being talked about, not built.
Anyway it's a helicopter rather than a drone if we are going to be pedantic.:)


Oh, don't get me started on the pedantry of this--having worked some aeronautics studies, we were admonished that we should never use "drone" even though that's what everybody knows. Instead it's UAS, or sometimes UAV, or sometimes some other acronym that somebody invented and hopes catches on. I just stopped caring.

I hope it does get onto the rover as it sounds an interesting idea.

Offline Don2

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Re: drones (or whatever you call them)


I hope it does get onto the rover as it sounds an interesting idea.

There's a time and a place to be adding capabilities and that is during the instrument selection process. If the budgets had been bigger, scientists would have proposed adding more instruments and the project could have traded the value of those versus the value of adding a drone. Once all that has been done, nothing else should be added. Adding capabilities in an undisciplined way is one of the leading causes of cost overruns.

A drone (or whatever) might not be such a bad idea if it could be built from off the shelf components. As temperatures drop, material properties change. Steels and rubbers become brittle, lubricants freeze and entire classes of engineering materials become unusable. Off the shelf components are designed for earth surface temperatures, which are rarely colder than -20 to - 40 Celsius. Mars gets a lot colder than that. I read somewhere that Li-ion batteries don't like the cold, and those are critical to consumer drone technology.

You might try to keep the drone in a heated hangar, but now you require an energy budget to keep the hangar warm. Electricity that goes to heat the hanger means less electricity available to move the rover.

You already have overhead imagery from Hi-rise. Does a drone really add enough to that to be worth the cost.?

Offline Don2

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JWST is passively cooled, so I wouldn't call it cryogenic (Spitzer, on the other hand, was cryogenic during its primary mission). As far as I know the goal was always to make the optics as cold as practicable in a passively cooled telescope.

This is another example of materials issues caused by low temperatures. A good material to build optical systems out of is silicon carbide. That doesn't work at low temperatures, which forces both JWST and Spitzer to use beryllium. Beryllium is toxic and always seems to be very costly. I definitely view JWST as cryogenic, because it operates at temperatures low enough to require special materials. If they had avoided requirements creep they could have stayed with silicon carbide and JWST would have cost a lot less.

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