MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The launch of a space orbiter to Mars under a joint Russia-EU research program has been postponed until March 2016, the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, said on Friday.
"Today, on September 25, 2015, a meeting of the Governing Council of the ExoMars mission was held in the Dutch city of Noordwijk. The Council members, Roscosmos and ESA experts have decided to postpone the start of the mission from January to March next year due to the need to replace equipment on ESA — Schiaparelli demonstration descent," the Roscosmos' press service said.
According to the statement, the mission will be launched between March 14 and 26.
Overall, Roscosmos and ESA have agreed to launch two ExoMars missions, scheduled for 2016 and 2018 respectively.
In 2016, it is planned to launch the orbiter, the main goal of which is to study the atmosphere of Mars and to conduct data exchange with a rover. The rover itself is scheduled to be sent to the planet in 2018.