The Rx (receiving) and Tx (transmitting) antennas of LaRa, developed at UCL (Université catholique de Louvain) have been tested for vibrations at ESTEC.

The planetary scientists at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) are delighted to announce the signing of a contract between the European Space Agency’s PRODEX (PROgramme for the Development of scientific Experiments) programme and Antwerp Space for the delivery of LaRa (Lander Radioscience).
Press release

On 5 May 2018, a delegation from the LaRa team (Véronique Dehant, Marie Yseboodt and Ozgur Karatekin) will attend the launch of the Martian mission InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central coast of California. Everyone can watch online. Some of LaRa/ExoMars2020 scientists are also involved in the seismometer (SEIS) and transponder (RISE) experiments of InSight. They hope that the addition of data of the two missions will allow revealing the secrets of the interior of Mars.

By listening for quakes on Mars, NASA lander will probe Red Planet’s interior (Science Magazine)

At the science meeting, Bruce Banerdt, Principal Investigator of the NASA mission InSight to Mars, talked about the instrument RISE (« Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment ») and how it will help to constrain the core of Mars. The video is available on the ROB youtube channel.

  • A test campaign took place at the European Space Operations Center (ESOC/ESA) at Darmstadt last week (12-15 Feb). The goal was to assess the electromagnetic compatibility of the instrument with the ground stations which will track the signal emitted by LaRa from the surface of Mars. The tests were successful. The engineers at Antwerp Space (AS) demonstrated that LaRa, powered by only 40 Watt (less than a traditional traditional bulb), to be provided by the Russian platform in which it will be integrated, will be able to communicate with Earth at a distance of more than 350 million kilometers.
  • AS and ESA engineers and ROB scientists also assessed the quality of LaRa future measurements. Once again, the tests were conclusive since the EM performed better than required by the specifications.
  • On the eve of the signing of a contract for the phase C/D, the whole team of engineers and scientists gained confidence in the success of the experiment designed to reveal the interior of Mars. They will however stay alert, well aware of the many challenges that remain ahead before LaRa is set and ready, in a bit more than 1 year from now. After that, the instrument will be integrated to the ExoMars2020 platform and launched from Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Abstract
Agenda:
  • General presentation on the LaRa project (ROB)
    • The LaRa consortium
    • Milestones and schedule
    • The challenges and current critical points of the project
    • Presentation on the LaRa design status
  • LaRa co-Is and their role in the project (ROB)
  • Scientific presentations (all)
  • Politic of publication