image 20-November-2017 16:20:46

Schiaparelli with parachute deployed

Date: 20 June 2016
Satellite: Schiaparelli
Copyright: ESA/ATG medialab

Artist's impression of the Schiaparelli module after the parachute has been deployed.

On 19 October 2016, Schiaparelli will enter the atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. In the next few minutes, it will be slowed down by the increasing atmospheric drag, with the front shield of the aeroshell bearing the brunt of the heating. This will slowly char and ablate, allowing the absorbed heat to be carried away from the rest of the spacecraft.

When the module is about 11 km from the surface, descending at a speed of about 1700 km/h, the parachute will be deployed by a mortar. Trailing behind the module at a distance of 27 m, the parachute will slow the module to about 240 km/h (at 1.2 km from the surface), at which stage the parachute will be jettisoned.

The parachute is a "disc-gap-band" type – the type that was used for the ESA Huygens probe descent to Titan and for all NASA planetary entries so far.

The canopy, with a nominal diameter of 12 metres, is made from nylon fabric and the lines are made from Kevlar, a very strong synthetic material.

Further details of the entry, descent and landing sequence can be found here.


Last Update: 24 May 2017

For further information please contact: RoboticExploration@esa.int

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