ExoMars mission delayed for 2020 and suffering for problems with organization and budget reaches next key point. Thales Alenia Space signed contract with ESA to complete activities concerning ExoMars.
Contract was signed on 16 December 2016 and opened door for receiving by Thales Alenia Space additional funding given previously by the decision of ESA Ministerial Council. Thales Alenia Space remains main contractor for ExoMars and its European segment. To remind, whole program covers cooperation between ESA and Russian State Corporation and sending it to Red Planet in 2020.
Until now most recognizable achievement of ExoMars was unfortunately not successful landing of EDM Schiaparelli (designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space) lander on Mars and successful entering Mars orbit by ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) in October 2016.
ExoMars remains key exploration program of ESA, but reached progress was not satisfying in 2016. Jan Woerner, chief of ESA claimed, that whole program suffered for issues with budget control and suggested starting internal inspection to improve organization of program. Still he has never mentioned, that ESA is going to scrub project, but to keep schedule additional funds were described as crucial for mission planned for 2020.