Luxembourg, 14 October 2020. – Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its ambitious five-year mission to go to Mars and bring the first samples from the Red Planet back to Earth, the company announced in Toulouse.
Airbus acts as ESA’s prime contractor for the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO), the first ever spacecraft to bring Martian samples back to Earth, the company said. The value of the contract is € 491 million.
The Mars Sample Return mission is a joint campaign from ESA and NASA and the next step in the exploration of Mars, Airbus said. The Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) and the Sample Fetch Rover, both designed and built by Airbus, are the two main European elements of that campaign.