NOMAD (ExoMars): ready to be launched
NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery), one of the the instrument aboard the ExoMars-TGO mission, will be launched together with Schiaparelli 14-25 March 2016 on a Proton rocket and will fly to Mars in a composite configuration. By taking advantage of the positioning of Earth and Mars the cruise phase can be limited to about 7 months, with the pair arriving at Mars in October. Three days before reaching the atmosphere of Mars, Schiaparelli will be ejected from the Orbiter towards the Red Planet. Schiaparelli will then coast towards its destination, enter the Martian atmosphere at 21 000 km/h, decelerate using aerobraking and a parachute, and then brake with the aid of a thruster system before landing on the surface of the planet. From its coasting to Mars till its landing, Schiaparelli will communicate with the Orbiter. Once on the surface, the communications of Schiaparelli will be supported from Mars Exprees and from a NASA Relay Orbiter. The ExoMars Orbiter will be inserted into an elliptical orbit around Mars and then sweep through the atmosphere to finally settle into a circular, approximately 400-km altitude orbit ready to conduct its scientific mission.