SITAEL technology once more on Mars with ExoMars Space Mission
SITAEL technology is on board of the ExoMars Space Mission, born from the collaboration between the European Space Agency ESA and the Russian ROSCOSMOS. Launched today at 09:31 UTC (10:31 CET) the Proton-M rocket hosts the probe and the scanning module “Schiaparelli” who will search for signs of life on the Red Planet.
March 14, 2016 – Slightly more than four years passed after the launch of the NASA mission that sent the Rover Curiosity on the red planet and the SITAEL technology is playing again an central role in this new Mars mission, ExoMars, thanks to the collaboration between the European Space Agency ESA and the Russian ROSCOSMOS.
The ExoMars mission has two main strategic goals: on one hand looking for signs of life on the red planet, with a specific “rover” equipped with new and advanced diagnostic tools for environmental and subsurface analysis also in real time; on the other hand to confirm the leadership achieved by the Italian and European space technology in a complex mission structured in two stages. The first is focused primarily on the launch into the orbit of a station and managing the spectacular descent of a module containing a “Lander” explorer, than during the second stage, scheduled for 2018, the new “Rover” will land on the red planet.
SITAEL technology has been involved into the design and production of one key-components of the ExoMars mission, a CAN bus (Controller Area Network) will be used for the internal communication of the on-board computers and all major sub-systems; basically a kind of neural system responsible for the control of all on-board electronics.
Thanks to the SITAEL controller the ExoMars Lander on-board computer will be able to acquire temperatures and sun relative position, drive the propulsion systems, open the parachute, measure ground height and speed, communicate with the Orbiting Station. The CAN will enable the on-board Rover computer to drive the wheels, to manage the energy of the solar panels, but also it will control and monitor the on board drill used to extract soil samples from underground, to experiment and to exchange information between all on-board instruments of what is a real highly specialized mobile laboratory.
ExoMars is the first space mission to adopt this protocol extensively (approximately 50 CAN communication nodes on all three spacecraft) and this is only possible thanks to SITAEL, an Italian company that first started almost twenty years ago the components development of this protocol for space industry, introducing this technology also on its innovative Small Satellite as the main communication bus.