Vorticity is delighted to welcome Negar and Sophie, our summer interns. Aerospace engineering undergraduates from Selwyn college and Homerton college, University of Cambridge, they’re tackling one of our most challenging projects, the design and build of an altitude test chamber.
The past few years saw most international conferences either moved online or cancelled entirely. Fortunately, 2022 travel restrictions loosened enough for Vorticity’s engineers to present at the 26th ADST conference in Toulouse, the 2nd FAR conference in Heilbronn and the 18th International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW) in Santa Clara.
Earlier in 2022, Vorticity completed the ExoMars parachute system qualification tests. We were able to share the multi-year development process, describe the design and show videos of the parachute performance. Further information on ExoMars is available on the ESA website.
Vorticity also presented two ongoing ESA-funded technology developments. Vorticity is leading these R&D studies into flexible thermal protection systems (FTPS) and precision electronic-delay parachute reefing cutters. Both technologies could play an important role in future entry, descent and landing missions, on Earth, Mars and the outer planets.
Finally, we reported the results of a parachute inflation wind tunnel study conducted at the University of Cambridge. Vorticity initiated and supported this Master’s engineering project, in which over 100 subscale parachute inflations were conducted.
For more information on all these projects, please see our publications page.
Further discussions on the Mars exploration programme will take place in the context of the Ministerial in November 2022, where a full statement will be presented. ESA Council has mandated the Director General to terminate cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover and surface platform.
Vorticity is in step with ESA and fully supports the statement released by the Agency in March 2022. “An intergovernmental organisation mandated to develop and implement space programmes in full respect for European values, we deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression toward Ukraine. While recognising the impact on scientific exploration of space, ESA is fully aligned with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its Member States“.
ESA’s ruling Council, meeting in Paris on 16-17 March, assessed the situation arising from the war in Ukraine regarding ExoMars, and unanimously:
- acknowledged the present impossibility of carrying out the ongoing cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover mission with a launch in 2022, and mandated the ESA Director General to take appropriate steps to suspend the cooperation activities accordingly;
- authorised the ESA Director General to carry out a fast-track industrial study to better define the available options for a way forward to implement the ExoMars rover mission.