Europe suspends ExoMars program over Russia sanctions — Analysis
Moscow’s restrictions on Ukraine’s offensive have put an end to a collaborative project.
According to an ESA statement, the European Space Agency (ESA) has postponed indefinitely its ExoMars mission. Initial plans for the launch of this rover were to have it launched in collaboration with Russia. However, that was later this year. The launch was delayed indefinitely because of sanctions. Officials are now trying to reconsider other options.
The decision to shut Russia out of the project arose from a meeting of the ESA ruling council in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday, in which the members “Unanimously acknowledged that it is impossible to continue cooperation with Roscosmos regarding the ExoMars Rover mission, with a launch for 2022,.”
The group called on the ESA director general, Dr. Josef Aschbacher, to “You should take the necessary steps to end cooperation activities.”
The ruling council also called on the director general to carry out a “fast-track industrial study” to determine alternate ways forward for the ExoMars mission. The official is expected to convene a Council session in the upcoming weeks to discuss how to meet the program’s launch needs.
Even while acknowledging the detrimental effects shutting Russia out of the cooperative program would have on the “Scientific explorations of Space,” the ESA placed its members’ anti-Russian sanctions first, declaring that it “Deeply regretted[s]The human losses and the tragic results of aggression against Ukraine.”
Russia’s lack of rocketry isn’t the only reason why European space projects have been put on hold.
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Roscosmos has announced that it will be withdrawing its personnel from French Guiana’s European Spaceport. This means all ESA missions that involve Soyuz spacecraft use have been postponed indefinitely.
The institutional split will also affect the Galileo M10 navigation satellite and Galileo M11 space telescope Euclid and EarthCare atmospheric sampler EarthCare. There may be an unknown institutional launch. However, the International Space Station will still operate as usual.
Commenting on the news, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said that Russia’s space agency will carry out a Mars mission on its own.