Press Release

Beagle 2 Internal Inquiry Reports

By SpaceRef Editor
August 25, 2004
Filed under , , ,
Beagle 2 Internal Inquiry Reports

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 UK’s 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.


* Beagle 2 Mission Report and ‘Lessons Learned’ Report

* Beagle 2 Mission Report Order Form

SpaceRef staff editor.