ExoMars 2016: key GMV technology in the descent module

On 19 October, the ExoMars 2016 mission will rendezvous with Mars and go into orbit around it, whereupon its Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator module will descend to the red planet’s surface.

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GMV has developed key equipment and technologies for the ExoMars mission 2016, designing and developing the onboard software of the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system of the Schiaparelli entry and descent module. The software developed by GMV will make all navigation calculations on the basis of the data received from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and other sensors (such as radar or the sun sensor), automatically triggering all Entry Descending and Landing (EDL) phases including controlled entry into the Martian atmosphere, parachute deployment, separation of the heat shield and control of the thrusters for the landing, all to ensure a safe touchdown.

In close collaboration with Thales Alenia Space Italy, GMV has also participated actively in the design of GNC interfaces with the rest of the onboard software and design of the GNC parameter database.

Other activities include software tests at various levels: at subsystem level, by means of unit tests and integration in installations, and at system level, participating actively in system validation on Thales Alenia Space’s Italian site.

Furthermore, as part of the activities carried out within the framework contract of support for ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), GMV still holds responsibility for the Flight Dynamics Manager and also participating actively in the mission’s orbital control.

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