Beagle 2 Leaving the Orbiter

:: leaving

Six days before Beagle 2 is due to enter the atmosphere after a journey of 250 million miles, the whole of Mars Express was lined up as accurately as could be managed with the projected landing site. Beagle 2 then separated from the mothercraft. This involved the use of a spring mechanism which pushes the lander away whilst making it spin on its axis for stability. The whole process, carried out by a 1.6kg device called the spinup and eject mechanism (SUEM) was the responsibility of INSYS Limited.

With Beagle 2, hurtling towards the surface at 14,000 mph, Mars Express is now free to make the manoeuvres to place itself in orbit.