video 21-November-2017 13:02:46

ExoMars EDM landing system drop tests

01 March 2012

The ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module surface platform will land at a maximum velocity of about 4 metres per second. In order to limit the shock of the impact on the surface and avoid damaging the spacecraft equipment, a layer of crushable material will be installed below the platform. This is a novel feature for a Mars lander.

This video shows the first full-scale model of the EDM surface platform during the first drop test in representative landing conditions (simulated landing speed, Mars-like terrain) on 20 January 2012 at the Aeronautical Technologies Centre (CTA) in Vitoria, Spain.

The model, that was used for these tests, has the same structural properties as the flight model, weighs 245 kg, and includes mock-ups of all the equipment that the EDM surface platform will carry on the Red Planet. The model is equipped with several sensors that measure the landing impact on each side of the platform as well as a number of cameras that record the movement of the platform during the landing.

The tests validated the software simulations, assessed the performance of the landing system in simulated Martian pressure conditions (about 200 times lower than the pressure on Earth), and verified the capability of the crushable material to reduce the landing shock so that the science payload remains intact. Additional tests will further study the capability of the landing system to land safely on a wide range of terrain that may be encountered by the EDM (slopes up to 19 degrees and rocks of various shapes, up to 38 centimetres in height, and horizontal velocity up to 2 m/s).

The landing system tests are performed by SENER, led by Thales Alenia Space - Italy, under the close supervision of ESA.


Last Update: 18 October 2016

For further information please contact: RoboticExploration@esa.int

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