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Beagle 2 could miss Mars Express launch
Posted: Fri, Sep 20, 2002, 8:11 AM ET (1211 GMT)
Beagle 2 lander illustration (Beagle 2) Britain's Beagle 2 Mars lander is in danger of missing its ride to Mars next year on ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, according to reports published Thursday. The BBC and New Scientist each reported that ESA is concerned that the lander will not be completed by its January deadline, in which case it would be left behind and only the Mars Express orbiter would be launched. David Southwood, ESA's director of science, said that the Beagle 2 project had to seek additional funds, perhaps from the British government, a claim that Colin Pillinger, head of the project, would not confirm. Pillinger did say engineers were working as hard as they could to assemble the lander in a special clean room at the Open University in the UK, and he believed the lander would be completed on schedule.
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