Aurora Programme - Timeline

Timeline

The proposed Aurora roadmap (as of September 30, 2005. This roadmap can, and most likely will, go through revisions):

  • 2007 – Earth re-entry vehicle/capsule
  • 2014 – Human mission technologies demonstrator(s) to validate technologies for orbital assembly and docking, life support and human habitation
  • 2016 – Mars Sample Return mission with NASA
  • 2018 – A technology demonstrator for aerobraking/aerocapture, solar electric propulsion and soft landing (formerly envisaged as a smaller Arrow-class mission to be launched in 2010)
  • 2018 – ExoMars, a Mars rover. The scientific objectives include exobiological studies as well as study of the surface of Mars.
  • 2024 – Human mission to the Moon
  • 2026 – Automatic mission to Mars
  • 2030/2033 – First human mission to Mars, as a split mission. The proposed Ariane M rocket may be used for this landing.

Only ExoMars has been formally approved during the December 2005 Ministerial conference, which will postpone to a later date or cancel altogether the Earth re-entry vehicle/capsule, which was proposed for 2007.

The human part of the programme has been challenged by the main ESA contributors (France, Germany and Italy), making it quite possible that the whole Aurora Programme will be refocused on robotic-only exploration of Mars.

  • 2013 – ExoMars, a Mars rover. The scientific objectives include exobiological studies as well as study of the surface of Mars.
  • 2016? – Mars Sample Return mission with NASA
  • 2018? – A technology demonstrator for aerobraking/aerocapture, solar electric propulsion and soft landing (formerly envisaged as a smaller Arrow-class mission to be launched in 2010)
  • 2026? – Automatic mission to Mars

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