The first of ESA’s two ExoMars launches is only days away. A rover will be sent to Mars in 2018 but the mission will start with an orbiter and lander this month. The orbiter (Trace Gas Orbiter) will analyse atmospheric gas and function as a telecommunication relay between lander, rover and Earth. The lander (EDM or Schiaparelli) is basically a test to learn from so the rover in 2018 can land safely.
The orbiter and lander are built by ESA and will be launched by Roscosmos from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The mission is operated by the ESA’s European Space Operation Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.
Universe Today: ExoMars heads to the Red Planet in 2016