Critical software for the next Mars rover will be developed by local tech company SciSys.
Headquartered in Chippenham with offices in Bristol, the company will be part of the design, coding and verification of the Mission Management Software Instruments Layer (MMS-IL) for the ExoMars rover.
The ExoMars rover is a joint project between the European, Russian and US space agencies to deliver a rover and two-tonne ‘surface platform’ to Mars. It is scheduled to launch in 2020.
The contract for the development of the system was signed this week with Thales Alenia Space Italia and SciSys will be a key technology supplier in the €3.7m (£3m) deal.
“The software built under this contract is a key component to orchestrate the Rover instruments and deliver observations and analyses back to Earth”
“We are delighted with the involvement of SCISYS, through its Space Division, in the ExoMars programme,” said Horst Wulf, Director of the SCISYS Space Division. “The MMS-IL software built under this contract is a key component to orchestrate the Rover instruments and deliver observations and analyses back to Earth. This is the second software component by SCISYS for the ExoMars Rover, after the VISLOC contract announced earlier in 2015. The VISLOC software component will support the second objective of the mission – to move across the surface, providing sophisticated localisation and visualisation capabilities.”
The mission is now at an advanced development stage, leading up to the system Critical Design Review (CDR) by the end of 2017. The first parts of the system will be delivered in early 2018, followed by the rover, so that the spacecraft can be integrated for a launch between 25 July and 12 August 2020.
“ExoMars is a cornerstone of ESA’s exploration programme,” says David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration. “Using its miniaturised life-search laboratory and advanced robotic technology, the mission will explore the Red Planet in search of new evidence to answer questions that have long fascinated humanity.