Mars Express construction begins European Space Agency

Construction of the Mars Express spacecraft can now begin, after final approval for the design was granted on Tuesday. A meeting chaired by Roger Bonnet, ESA’s Director of Scientific Programmes, and Jean-Jacques Dourdain, Director for Science Strategy and Technical Assessment, gave the approval after hearing a presentation on the findings of the science and engineering review team. The review team had endorsed the Mars Express design last December, after spending a week poring over the plans at the offices of Matra Marconi Space (MMS) in Toulouse. Starsem, the company that is providing the Fregat-Soyuz launcher, and MMS also presented their latest activities yesterday.