It’s “very unlikely” the Mars Rover, Rosalind Franklin, will launch this year. The European Space Agency (Esa) says the project is now at risk because of the worsening diplomatic crisis over the war in Ukraine. The robot is part of a joint venture with the Russian space agency.
The Rover is due to launch on a Russian rocket in September and land eight months later using Russian hardware, but this cooperation may now be hard to justify. The space agency said in on Monday that “sanctions and the wider context” had put a big question mark next to Rosalind Franklin, which is named after the British scientist who co-discovered the structure of DNA.
At the weekend, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced it would be suspending flights of its Soyuz rockets from the European Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, as retaliation for EU economic sanctions.