Press Release

Media Briefing: Beagle 2 Internal Inquiry Report to be Released

By SpaceRef Editor
August 13, 2004
Filed under , , ,

Tuesday 24 August 2004

The Science Media Centre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street,

London W1S 4BS

Location map:

10.30am – 1.00pm inc. lunch

A six month internal investigation by the Beagle 2 Project Team has led
to the publication of two open reports, both of which will be available
at the briefing. [Advance copies will be available at and
via key websites (,,) from 12 noon
on Monday 23rd August]

1.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 25th December 2003

2.”Lessons Learned” – a complete list of lessons learned from the
mission as a guide for future missions.

Dr. Mark Sims, Beagle 2 Mission Manager [University of Leicester] will
outline the key findings from both reports, accompanied by
representatives from the Open University, EADS Astrium and SciSys,
partners within the Beagle 2 project.


10.30 Registration

11.00 Dr. Mark Sims, University of Leicester, Beagle 2 Mission Manager- summary of findings

11.30 Questions and Answer session

12.00 Interview opportunities

12.30 Lunch

13.00 Close

Media Registration

To confirm your attendance please contact Julia Maddock in the PPARC
Press Office. Telephone: 01793 442094. Email:

Background Notes

Since 25th December 2003, the combined academic/industry Mission
Operations team from the University of Leicester, EADS-Astrium and
SciSys 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
is based on all available information. Because no data was received from
Beagle 2 following its successful ejection from Mars Express on the 19th
December 2003 it is not possible to identify an exact failure mode
however the Mission Report highlights a number of possibilities. Beagle
2 probably failed some where 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

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.

For further information contact:

Peter Barratt, PPARC

Tel: 01793 442025


Julia Maddock, PPARC

Tel: 01793 442094


Ather Mirza, University of Leicester

Tel: 0116 2523335



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.

SpaceRef staff editor.