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ExoMars2016 was launched on 14 March 2016 from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The space probe carries a mechanism for steering solar panels from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (Space & Surveillance) Photo: ESA/S. Corvaja
On 14 March, the ExoMars space probe was launched successfully from Kazakhstan to search for sources of methane and liquid water on Mars. KONGSBERG has supplied the steering mechanisms for the solar panels that will power the probe throughout its journey.

ExoMars2016 will, among other things, study methane in the Martian atmosphere, search for sources of methane and liquid water using a high-resolution camera and ensure stable communications in the next stage of the ExoMars project. The orbiting probe also carries the landing demonstrator module Schiaparelli, which is going to test new technology for landing rovers on Mars. Schiaparelli will land on Mars on 19 October 2016.

ExoMars 2016 will orbit the Earth several times to gain the speed required for the journey to Mars. It is set to reach its destination on 16 October this year.

The launch took place on Monday 14 March at 10:31 CET, at the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Russian Proton rocket was used for the launch. The first signals from the space probe were received by the mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany later that night.

"This is a groundbreaking and exciting project that will expand our knowledge about the planet Mars. We are very proud of supplying the steering systems for the solar panels, a crucial part of the space probe, which delivers power for various operations. This is 'extreme performance for extreme conditions' ", says Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Executive Vice President of Kongsberg Space and Surveillance.

Read more about the project and see pictures at the ESA website here

You can also follow ESA's ExoMars mission on Twitter

KONGSBERG is Norway's leading supplier of space technology and has provided equipment and services to a number of small and large international space projects. The group delivers to the entire value chain; from launch, to on-board satellite and space probe technology, and to download of data.

Source: Norwegian space centre

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