05:04 GMT +314 October 2019
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    A model in scale 1:3 of the landing unit Schiaparelli of the European-Russian ExoMars 2016 mission is seen at the ESA space operation center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany

    Russia Fundamentally Important in ExoMars Project - Italian Space Agency Head

    © AFP 2019 / THOMAS KIENZLE
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    Russia is a fundamental partner in the joint project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation ExoMars, Italian Space Agency (ASI) President Roberto Battiston told Sputnik.

    COLORADO SPRINGS (Sputnik) — ExoMars is the first project in the history of collaboration between the European Union and Russia that aims to search for life on Mars. The project started with the launch of a Russian four-stage Proton-M/Breeze-M launch vehicle on March 14, 2016 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

    "ExoMars is proceeding to the completion of the second mission of 2020, and we recall the very important collaboration ESA, and Italy through ESA with Russia, first of all, on the launcher capability as was in ExoMars 2016, but also in the construction of the rover and various sub systems, including some important detectors," Battiston said.

    The launch was followed by the Schiaparelli demonstrator module’s starting a journey to Mars attached to the Trace Gas Orbiter. Schiaparelli’s purpose is to test key technologies for the second ExoMars expedition slated for 2020.

    Battiston stressed that the next ExoMars mission planned for 2020 is extremely important for Italy, adding that Italian astronauts are continuously trained in Russia.

    "We are the main country financing that in the European Space Agency," he explained. "For us, it’s extremely important to succeed into that and that Russia is a fundamental, important partner."

    Battiston concluded by saying that cooperation between ASI and Roscosmos is "extremely good," which also includes collaboration via the International Space Station.

    ExoMars Program
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    ExoMars Program

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