Journey to Baikonur
On 17 December 2015, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli (the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module) bid farewell to the Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes (France) where they had been for the final few months of the assembly, integration and testing phase, and headed for Turin, a temporary stop on the way to Baikonur, where launch preparation activities will begin early in 2016. The Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli are scheduled for launch on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome on 14 March, at the start of a launch window that remains open until 25 March.
Thursday 17 December
With the two spacecraft and the ground support equipment packed and ready to go, a convoi exceptionnel of transport trucks and support vehicles left from the Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes at about 19:00 CET on the evening of 17 December. The convoy arrived at the Turin premises of Thales Alenia Space at 05:00 CET the following morning, after a longer than expected journey due to a detour necessitated by a fire in a tunnel and bad weather.
Friday 18 December
The first of the three Antonov flights carrying ExoMars 2016 hardware and support crew took off from Turin-Caselle airport (Italy) on 18 December, and arrived at Baikonur later that night.
Sunday 20 December
Schiaparelli departed for Baikonur on the second Antonov flight at 16:04 CET on the evening of 20 December, arriving at Baikonur in the early hours of the next day.
Tuesday 22 December
The last of the three Antonov flights took off from Turin-Caselle airport at 17:19 CET on Tuesday 22 December, carrying the Trace Gas Orbiter, ground support equipment, and some of the ExoMars support crew. It arrived safely in Baikonur at 05:46 CET on Wednesday 23 December.