An announcement from the European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed that the ExoMars mission will be delayed for a further two years as further testing is needed to be done.
According to the announcement, several parts of the spacecraft still need to crucial testing completed before it's given the green light to be sent off to the red planet. Since more testing is needed, the ExoMars mission will miss its launch window for 2020 and will need to wait until sometime between August and October in 2022 for another opportunity. Why do they have to wait so long? Well, that is because of the orbital cycles of Earth and Mars.
Space agencies can only launch spacecrafts to the red planet when the orbital cycles of Mars and Earth are at their closest points to each other. Launching it at any other time would require unnecessary amounts of fuel. The rover is being held back from launch this year to have its parachutes tested, which are used to ensure that the craft lands safely on the red planet. ESA director Jan Woerner said just yesterday, "Launching this year would mean sacrificing essential remaining tests. This is a very tough decision, but I am sure the right one."
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