As space engineers and scientists met last month for a final review of the Mars Express spacecraft design, the spacecraft itself was taking shape at the premises of Alenia, Torino, Italy. “Normally, we would have the critical design review (CDR) after tests of the spacecraft structural model (SM tests) have been completed. But because of the tight schedule for Mars Express, most of the review had to be completed early. We’ve done all the reviewing we can. A few items have to wait until after the SM tests,” says Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager.