A Romanian company states that it did not conduct testing of space landing module due to ‘annexation of Crimea to Russia’.
The Romanian Arca Space company has accused Russia of the impossibility of carrying out tests of the Schiaparelli landing module in the Earth’s atmosphere before its launching to Mars, which took place in the spring of 2016, the Romanian Agerpres news agency reported.
“We did our best, and this test, about which they [the Italian Space Agency] talk, would have forced us to make a flight near a Russian military base in Sevastopol. At that time, Russia had just annexed Crimea and we could provoke a conflict between Russia and NATO,” head of Arca Space, Dumitru Popescu, responded to claims of the Italian Space Agency.
Schiaparelli was created by the Italian Space Agency, and the Arca Space company was responsible for its testing before the launching. However, the company did not conduct the testing. After the collapse of the module, Italians accused Romanians of an improper testing of Schiaparelli. Arca Space responded that the agency itself recommended to limit the testing with computer simulation of entry of the apparatus in the Martian atmosphere, and not to conduct experiments with a prototype of Schiaparelli. Meanwhile, initially, it was planned to test the module in Sweden, but then the testing was entrusted to little-known Arca Space in order to save money.
The Arca Space company was founded by Dumitru Popescu in 1999. Its headquarters is located in the US.
Schiaparelli, which was a part of the joint mission of the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, named ExoMars-2016, crashed on the surface of Mars on October 19. According to an investigation, conducted by a special commission, an error occurred, when the module threw a protective shield and opened its parachutes ahead of time. Final conclusions of the commission on the crash of Schiaparelli are planned to be announced in the beginning of 2017. ExoMars-2016 was the first European mission, aimed on studying of Mars, for the past 13 years.