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Beagle 2 Internal Inquiry Reports

Press Release From: University of Leicester
Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2004

image A six month internal investigation by the Beagle 2 Project Team has led to the publication of the following two open reports, both of which can be accessed via links below.

* The Beagle 2 Mission Report -- which describes the Flight operations and reports on the possible failure modes that may have prevented the Lander from returning a signal on December 25, 2003.

* 'Lessons Learned' -- a complete list of lessons learned from the mission as a guide for future missions.

The two reports have been produced by the Beagle 2 team and consequently are not endorsed by PPARC, ESA or any other agency. They have been produced as a record of the internal Beagle 2 investigation.

Since December 25, 2003, the combined academic/industry Mission Operations team from the University of Leicester, EADS-Astrium and SciSys based at the National Space Centre in Leicester has been analysing data from Beagle 2 and since February 2004 conducting an internal enquiry into possible reasons for the non-fulfilment of the mission.

The result is the Mission Report, which includes contributions and input from the Open University, ESA and a number of other sources. Because no data was received from Beagle 2 following its successful ejection from Mars Express on December 19, 2003, it is not possible to identify an exact failure mode. However the Mission Report highlights a number of possibilities. Beagle 2 probably failed somewhere in the time critical and high risk phase of entry, descent and landing. The Mission Report analyses all identified potential failure modes and identify a subset that could be probable causes.

As a result of the non-fulfilment of the mission a number of Lessons Learned has been compiled and documented as a guide to making any Mars Lander mission more robust in the future. In addition the document also addresses a number of points regarding the management and programmatics of the Beagle 2 programme to clarify and address a number of issues raised elsewhere.

These reports represent the end of the first mission for Beagle 2. The team hopes however that the concept of small Mars Landers will not die with Beagle 2 and that the payload will fly again to conduct the world class science planned for the mission and that the technology developed will be used in future missions.

Background Information

Beagle 2 was the UK's first mission to another planet. The project is a partnership between the Open University, the University of Leicester and EADS Astrium (UK). Other funding partners included the European Space Agency (ESA), the Office of Science and Technology of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Wellcome Trust, the National Space Centre and the Millennium Commission.

The National Space Centre, supported by the Millennium Commission with National Lottery funding, is the UKs largest attraction dedicated to the excitement of space. Co-founded by the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council; its other funding partners include the East Midlands Development Agency and BT.

Beagle 2 Mission Report Order Form

Bound copies of the reports are available from the University of Leicester. The order form is online at the web link below.

RELATED SITES

* Beagle 2 Mission Report and 'Lessons Learned' Report http://www.src.le.ac.uk/projects/beagle2/report/

* Beagle 2 Mission Report Order Form http://www.le.ac.uk/marketing/beagleorderform.html

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