Take a look back at the fiery blastoff of a Russian Proton rocket Monday with the ExoMars 2016 mission to examine the red planet’s atmosphere and test new European entry, descent and landing technologies.
The 191-foot-tall (58-meter) rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0931:42 GMT (5:31:42 a.m. EDT) Monday with the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander.
Nearly 11 hours later, the rocket’s Breeze M upper stage deployed the ExoMars orbiter on a trajectory toward Mars after a series of maneuvers to build up enough energy to escape Earth’s gravity.
The ExoMars mission will arrive at Mars on Oct. 19, making it the European Space Agency’s second probe to explore the red planet.
Europe’s fifth Sentinel Earth observation satellite will ride a four-stage Vega rocket into polar orbit 488 miles above Earth to begin tracking changes in agriculture and forestry patterns and monitoring natural disasters.
The pace of the European Space Agency’s development of a power and propulsion module for NASA’s Orion crew capsule will likely determine when an unpiloted test flight of the spaceship and its heavy-lift rocket will take off, NASA officials said last week.
A Soyuz rocket lifted off from South America late Thursday to haul up the next two satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system, giving the network its ninth and 10th operational members. Launch occurred at 0208:10 GMT Friday (10:08:10 p.m. EDT Thursday).