There’s anxiety that the European-Russian ExoMars 20 20 assignment could become ExoMars 2022.

The matter involves parachute testing and a succession of snags falling while wanting to flight-qualify the warrior method. The ExoMars team proceeds to trouble shoot the parachute design following an unsuccessful drop test a week.

The forthcoming ExoMars mission comprises a life-hunting rover called Rosalind Franklin and a surface science platform called Kazachok, which can be scheduled to launch next summer and signature down on the Red Planet in March 2021. 

If the mission overlooks the 20 20 launch window, then it would need to wait around until at least 2022 for the next chance to lift . (Launch windows to Mars missions open one time every 26 months)

Several ExoMars parachute evaluations have been conducted at a Swedish Space Corporation site, European Space Agency (ESA) officials wrote in a statement yesterday (Aug. 1-2 ). 

The very first such test took place last year. It included the greatest main parachute, that can be 115 feet (35 meters) wide — bigger than some chute that has ever flown onto a Mars mission. A helicopter dropped the chute from an altitude of 0.7 miles (1.2 kilometers), and also the parachute successfully deployed and inflated, ESA officials said. 

“On May 28 this season, the deployment sequence of all four parachutes was analyzed for the first time by a height of 29 kilometers [18 kilometers ] — discharged by a naturally-occurring helium balloon,” ESA officials wrote in the announcement. “While the deployment mechanisms triggered properly, and also the total sequence was completed, both main parachute canopies suffered hurt ”

The ExoMars team made some alterations to this parachute system’s design before the next high-altitude test on Aug. 5, which then focused only on the 115-foot-wide chute. The outcomes were similar to the previous trial: the first steps were performed correctly, however, the chute suffered canopy damage . The test module wound up spelled just under the haul of a small pilot chute, ESA officials said.

“It is unsatisfactory that the precautionary design adaptations introduced following the anomalies of this previous test haven’t helped us to pass on the second test successfully, but as always we remain focused and therefore are working to understand and also correct the defect in order to launch next season,” ESA ExoMars team leader Francois Spoto said from the announcement.

The team intends to conduct an alternate high-altitude test of the large primary parachute prior to the close of 2019. The next qualification attempt of this second primary parachute is then anticipated for ancient 20 20.

Related: Occupy Mars: History of Robotic Red Planet Missions (Infographic)

There are few chances to conduct additional full scale, spring-loaded drop evaluations. So, ExoMars teams are also considering building more parachute examine units and acting ground-based simulations to better understand the complicated, lively process of parachute extraction, ESA officials said. 

ESA and NASA experts convene regularly to swap ideas about space technology and science. In addition to those forums, Mars parachute pros will convene at a workshop each month in an attempt to fix the problems.

The forthcoming ExoMars assignment has a far more complex parachute decelerator system than those used for NASA’s Mars missions.

Whether ExoMars is experiencing a parachute problem or other matters associated with the parachute system isn’t clear.

And with time running short, ESA/NASA discussions can be muddled due to Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations and rules.

On the NASA side, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project — Spirit and Opportunity — moved through similar nail biting as parachute drop-testing at California’s China Lake encountered issues. A chute redesign was needed, Together with utilization of this National Full Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

NASA’s mega-parachute for its Curiosity Mars rover mission underwent a total of six unique evaluations between October 2007 and April 2009 over the NFAC. That parachute’d 80 suspension lines, quantified more than 165 feet (50 m) long, also exposed into a diameter of nearly 51 feet (16 meters).

Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity all landed safely on Mars. Curiosity touched down in August 2012, and Spirit and Opportunity landed a couple of weeks apart in January 2004.

The European-Russian ExoMars app consists of two phases. The primary phase found the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a landing demonstrator called Schiaparelli in March 20-16. TGO reached Mars orbit safely, but Schiaparelli crashed throughout its landing attempt in October 20-16 due to a data glitch. 

Rosalind Franklin and Kazachok represent the second phase of ExoMars. Europe built the rover, while Russia is supplying the Kazachok lander.

NASA intends to launch a life-hunting rover into the Red Planet next summer also. The Mars 20 20 rover is based heavily off Curiosity and can employ the latter’s warrior system, which depended on parachutes and a rocket-powered sky crane.

Leonard David is author of the newly published publication,”Moon Rush: The New Space Race” published by National Geographic in May 2019. A longtime writer for Space.com, David was reporting on the distance industry for more than five decades. Inform us Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.