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Britain Eased Anti-Russian Sanctions for the Study of Mars
October 9, 2019 11:17

The UK has amended the law on export, which directly affects cooperation with Russia. London considered it possible to ease some sanctions for the mission to study Mars.

The United Kingdom amended the "Export Law (sanctions on Russia, Crimea and Sevastopol)", which was adopted in 2014. They allowed to mitigate some anti-Russian sanctions for the ExoMars 2020 mission to study Mars. The amendments are fixed in the section “Crimes related to goods and technologies included in the General Military List of the European Union”.

It follows from the document that London allows the sale, import and delivery to Russia of certain materials and components that are needed for launchers, launch or refueling satellites, as well as for tests and flights as part of the program for the study of Mars.

Prior to the amendments, it was supposed that those involved in the supply of components of high-boiling rocket fuel to Russia commit a crime. Limitations related to components required for use in certain launchers. Now, deliveries have become possible if they are previously agreed in accordance with the article on sanctions against Russia.

This is not the first case of easing sanctions in order to maintain the mission to study Mars: in 2017, the European Union removed rocket fuel from the sectoral economic sanctions against Russia for the project.

ExoMars 2020 is a joint Russian-European project aimed at studying the atmosphere of Mars, its internal structure, climate and volcanism. Among the objectives of the project is to check the availability of water on the planet and find out how the conditions on the surface of Mars are theoretically suitable for life. In 2016, the first Schiaparelli spacecraft was launched as part of the project. However, it crashed while trying to land on Mars. The cause of the accident was called the premature separation of the brake parachute and protective shields.

Now preparations are underway to launch the landing module of the joint development of Rostec and Roscosmos with the European automatic rover on board. Initially, the launch was planned for July 25, 2020, but in August of this year, Roscosmos announced that it will be postponed to March 2021 due to an accident in Sweden during the tests of the European parachute system.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: sanctions Russia International    

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