This animation shows the relative orbital paths of ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), the Schiaparelli Entry, descent and landing Demonstrator Module and ESA's Mars Express on 19 October 2016, when TGO and Schiaparelli arrive at Mars. At the start of the animation, TGO and Schiaparelli are shown already separated, which is set to occur at 14:42 UTC on 16 October. The animation covers the time period between approximately 12:30 UTC and 19:00 UTC on 19 October, including the expected time of Schiaparelli touch down at 14:47 UTC and the critical, 139-min TGO orbit insertion engine burn, ending at 15:34 UTC. At the end of the animation, TGO has been captured into Mars orbit and is seen starting its first bound orbit, expected to be highly elliptical varying from about 300 km to 96 000 km above the planet’s surface and taking 4 sols (1 sol is a Martian day, equal to 24 hours and 39 minutes) to complete one revolution. Mars Express is seen in its current polar orbit, from which it will have good visibility of the Schiaparelli module's descent and landing starting with atmosphere entry at 14:53 UTC. Mars Express will use its lander communication system to record signals from Schiaparelli during arrival, providing a critical record of the module's descent progress, trajectory and landing.
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Original image data dated on or about October 19, 2016