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Austrian Space Forum postpones Mars Analog Mission by one year

Analog Astronauts with Husky Rover. Credits: OeWF (Florian Voggeneder).

The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) announced the postponement of its international Mars analog mission “AMADEE-20”. The simulation of a crewed mission to the Red Planet was originally scheduled to take place later this year in October in Israel. Due to pandemic related safety concerns the Austrian Space Forum in accordance with the Israel Space Agency ISA moved the mission by one year to be conducted from October 15th to November 15th 2021.

Dr. Gernot Grömer, OeWF-Director explains, “Institutions and experts from more than 20 countries and altogether 200 participants are involved. A mission of this magnitude requires extensive travel preparations and detailed shipping-logistics for our unique equipment. These as well as the construction of our custom-made mission-habitat in the Negev desert in Israel need to be completed two months prior to mission start at the latest. Our six analog astronauts will travel to Israel from four different countries, our mission support center’s team members will come to Austria from five different countries. Mission-hardware and scientific equipment – including hardware provided by the European Space Agency ESA – will have to be shipped to Israel from nine different countries. Thus, we have been monitoring international travel regulations very closely. Increasing travel restrictions have led the Austrian Space Forum and the Israel Space Agency to postpone the mission. This decision was taken in agreement with our research partners as well as industrial partners.”
Partaking research institutions and industrial partners have already confirmed their participation for 2021. Both the Austrian Space Forum and its partner-institutions will take advantage of the postponement to conduct additional trainings and pursue the development of scientific instruments and mission hardware.
Willibald Stumptner, President of the OeWF emphasizes, ”We will use the following year to promote our other technical and scientific projects. We will also follow one of our biggest goals: to spark young people’s interest in science and technology. To that end we are currently running ‘Talents4Space’, an outreach project in cooperation with the European Space Agency ESA and ESERO, providing interactive lectures in schools all over Austria.”
“As head of our Mars Analog Mission AMADEE-20 I’m pleased that we could reach the decision of postponing the mission in complete agreement with the Israel Space Agency, and our partners from science and industry. This decision enables us all to expedite the mission’s objectives as well as every single research project so we will be able to conduct the next year’s mission with the benefit of new insights and scientific findings,” concludes Dr. Gernot Grömer.

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