Beagle separation is successful

Beagle 2 has successfully separated from its “mothership” for the final leg of the journey to Mars.

Mike McKay, flight operations director at the European Space Operations Centre (Esoc) at Darmstadt, Germany, confirmed the separation just after 1110 GMT.

The tiny probe will now glide the last three million kilometres to the Red Planet alone; silent, powerless and in hibernation mode.

The lander is expected to touch down on Mars on Christmas Day, to search for signs of life, past or present.

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Another important step now completed, fingers crossed for the 25th :slight_smile:

I thought this was going to be a post about a siamese Beagle. :smiley:

Let’s hope that it lands safely. Will be a great day for British engineering.


Did anyone watch the program about it was on a couple of nights ago i think.

Very interesting it was - specially about the cleanlyness procedures they had to go through in order to avoid contaminating Beagle - and possibly mars :eek:

Good Luck Beagle, and merry xmas!


Back side of Beagle as it pulls away:

Mars Express arrives on Mars
Transmissions ESA TV
Wed, Dec 24, 2003 | 13:00 - 13:15 GMT | 14:00 - 14:15 CET
Thu, Dec 25, 2003

More Details

Sir Ulli

25 December 2003
ESA PR 84-2003. This morning, after a journey lasting 205 days and covering 400 million kilometres, the European Mars Express space probe fired its main engine at 03:47 CET for a 37-minute burn in order to enter an orbit around Mars. This firing gave the probe a boost so that it could match the higher speed of the planet on its orbit around the Sun and be captured by its gravity field, like climbing in a spinning merry-go-round. This orbit insertion manoeuvre was a complete success.

but who is Beagle

At approximately the same time, the Beagle 2 lander, protected by a thermal shield, entered the Martian atmosphere at high velocity and is expected to have reached the surface at about 03:52 CET. However, the first attempt to communicate with Beagle 2, three hours after landing, via NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, did not establish radio contact. The next contact opportunity will be tonight at 23:40 CET.

ESA Portal

Beagle 2 is scheduled to land on Mars at 2:54 am on Christmas morning. An attempt will be made to establish communications with the lander at about 5 am through an orbiting spacecraft called Mars Odyssey. At 7:15 am, our time, the Sun will set on Beagle 2 and it will spend its first night on the surface until sunrise at at just after 8pm our time. At 10:40 pm it will begin to transmit an on/off sequence each minute - like very slow Morse Code - and about nearly 9 minutes later the signals should reach Earth after a journey of 98 million miles. The transmitter power, at 5 watts, is little more than that of a mobile phone, but we have installed what is probably the most sensitive receiver ever built at the Beagle 2 frequency on the 76m Lovell Telescope. It is incorporating two new filters made of high temperature superconducting material to remove interference from terrestrial signals whilst allowing the very weak Beagle 2 signal to pass undimished. These have been especially made for us by the Emerging Device Technology Research Centre of the University of Birmingham. A graphical display will allow us to observe the band where we expect to receive the Beagle II signal and hopefully show its presence soon after the signals are expected to arrive. Assuming that the signal strength is close to what is expected, a positive confirmation could come soon after, but more analysis of the data may be required if only a very weak signal is present. This might, for example, be a result of the lander being on its side so the signal transmitted to Earth is less than we expect. Two further communication sessions are programmed for 11:20 pm on Boxing Day and at 11:16 pm on the 27th December.

Beagle 2 observations by the Lovell Telescope

Sir Ulli