April 6 in Moscow, the head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, the director of ESA, Jean-Jacques Dordenom agreed on a joint research program of the planet Mars.
In the framework of cooperation in 2016 will be launched to Mars orbiter, and in 2018 — the rover.
Note that Russia will take place in the program of the United States. Representatives of the U.S. space agency NASA refused to participate in the program at the beginning of this year.
As reported by RIA Novosti press-secretary of the Russian Federal Space Agency Anna Vedischeva, the talks discussed Russia‘s participation in the project "EkzoMars" and heard reports of the working group on Russian participation in it. "The Parties agreed that the project implemented and interest", — the report says. According Vedischeva, at the end of today’s meeting, it was decided that an agreement on a "EkzoMarsa" Roskosmos and ESA sign before the end of this year. This will be preceded by a procedure of approval by the parties of their participation in the ambitious project. To do this, today signed a protocol of intent. The details of Russia’s participation in the project has not been revealed, as is said about the financial side. Earlier, Popovkin said about the possibility of signing the contract in the summer. Obviously, now we are talking about a later date — probably about November, the source said RIA Novosti.
Within the "EkzoMarsa" that Europeans initially estimated at EUR 1 billion, to be launched to the Red Planet research probe in 2016, and the rover — in 2018. Funding for the program was supposed to end at the beginning of April, as the ESA has failed to collect more than 850 million euro contribution to the project participating countries. The main reason — the state of the U.S. economy. The fact that NASA is almost refused to take part in the "EkzoMarse" due to the reduction of its budget. In particular, the United States refused to give their support, "Atlas" to start, prompting ESA to seek an alternative — Russian space rocket.
A full-fledged cooperation
At the October 2011 meeting of the ESA Council of the agency has taken a decision to start negotiations with Russia on the use of the carrier rocket "Proton" as the basis for the launch in 2016 interplanetary probe to Mars. Roscosmos did not want to be in the role of "space cab," so the manual ESA have sought to co-operation on an equal footing. As previously stated Popovkin, Russia hopes to put on the phones instead of American scientific equipment, claiming that the results of the mission will be the intellectual property, ESA and the Russian Academy of Sciences. It looks like the Europeans do not mind: in principle to our country’s participation as a full partner was received at the beginning of this year.
Russia is interested in cooperation with ESA, the study of Mars, as this will increase the efficiency of our space science programs. It concerns the quality of equipment and space vehicles: the tragedy of the "Phobos-Grunt" is not to be repeated. By participating in an international project, we gain access to advanced technologies and will be able to accelerate the advancement of their own exploration of Mars, optimizing costs.