Beagle 2 team wins international award for successful landing

Posted by ap507 at Jul 27, 2015 10:20 AM |
Sir Arthur Clarke Award 2015 for Industry/Project Team follows discovery of lander on Mars

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 27 July 2015

The Beagle 2 team is pleased to announce that the combined Beagle 2 industrial and academic team has won the 2015 Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Industry/Project Team.

The Beagle 2 Mars Lander, thought lost since 2003, was identified partially deployed on the surface of Mars earlier this year by images taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The Sir Arthur Clarke Award was presented at the UK Space Conference held in Liverpool on 14 and 15 July 2015. The award was received on behalf of the whole Beagle 2 team by Professor Mark Sims (formerly Beagle 2 Mission Manager) of the University of Leicester and Dr Jim Clemmet (former Beagle 2 Chief Engineer, now retired) of Airbus Space and Defence at the UK Space Conference dinner on 14 July.

Professor Mark Sims said: “It was a great pleasure to accept the award with Jim Clemmet on behalf of the whole Beagle 2 team. It is a great pity that Colin Pillinger who lead the Beagle 2 project, George Fraser and Dave Barnes who all sadly passed last year are not here to see the award which recognises the extraordinary efforts made by the whole team, industry and academia to design, build, test and deliver Beagle 2 to the surface of Mars.”

The Industry/Project Team award is made for significant or outstanding achievements by a team, in all space activities. This includes any activity by a commercial or government organisation that designs, manufactures, supplies or operates space systems, equipment or hardware, or supports and promotes the space industry.

As cited in the award announcement: “Beagle 2 was found on the Martian surface in January 2015, 11 years after being assumed lost, proving that the original calculations and engineering were spot on after all.  This mission was only one, or possibly two solar panels away from being an outstanding success.

“Images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera show that Beagle 2 successfully landed in its intended landing ellipse on the surface of Mars on Christmas Day 2003 and began deploying its solar panels but only two, or perhaps three, of the four panels opened thus preventing the probe from communicating with Earth.

“The entry shield, parachutes, air bags and ancillary equipment and software that make up the Beagle 2 Entry, Descent & Landing System were a triumph of engineering, constrained by weight, development time and funding as well as the unforgiving Martian environment that had foiled half of all previous attempts to land there.”

Beagle 2 was the UK’s first mission to another planet. The project was a partnership between The Open University, the University of Leicester and EADS Astrium (UK) (now Airbus Defence and Space). Other funding partners included the European Space Agency (ESA), the Office of Science and Technology of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC but now the Science and Technology Facilities Council), the Wellcome Trust, the National Space Centre and the Millennium Commission.

The Beagle 2 team consisted of many organisations and individuals and it is impossible to name all involved however a list of key organisations is given in background material below.

A session on the Beagle 2 discovery and small landers and their uses was held at the UK Space Conference on the morning of the 14 July.

More information is available at:

The presentations from the Beagle 2 session at the UK Space Conference are available at:


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Professor Mark Sims at:

Background Material

Sir Arthur Clarke Awards (Reference Wikipedia)

The Sir Arthur Clarke Award is a British award given in recognition of notable contributions to space exploration, particularly British achievements. It was devised by Dave Wright and Jerry Stone and is independent of and separate from awards given by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation. Founded in 2005, the awards are an annual event. They originally took place at the UK Space Conference. Formerly the British Rocketry Oral History Programme (BROHP) until it was renamed in 2008, this event was held annually at Charterhouse School from 1998 to 2010. In 2011 it was held at the University of Warwick. Nominations for the awards are made by members of the public, with shortlists drawn up by a panel of judges, who also choose the winner. The award was established with the permission of Sir Arthur Clarke, who also chose a special award independently of the public nominations prior to his death on 18 March 2008.

The award has the same proportions (1:4:9) as the monolith featured in Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is made of glass. It features the diagram Clarke drew in 1945 in order to demonstrate how satellites can provide global communications around the Earth from geostationary orbit, also called the Clarke Orbit. It was co-designed by Jerry Stone and Howard Berry.

The award ceremony is similar to the Oscars in that multiple awards are given in various categories at the same event, which is different from other awards given in the field. As a result the awards have been referred to as the Arthurs and are known as the Space equivalent of the Oscars. The awards are held in high regard by the international Space community.

The Beagle 2 Team

A list of organisations involved in the science team, and companies involved in Beagle 2 follow.

Beagle 2 Science Team and Instruments

Open University UK: Project Scientist and Principal Investigator, Gas Analysis Package (GAP), Beagle 2 Calibration Target, Landing Site Scientist, Planetary Protection, Environmental Sensors (with University of Leicester), Beagle 2 Public Relations, Mission Science Operations

University of Leicester UK: Mission Manager, X-ray Spectrometer, Position Adjustable Workbench (PAW), Environmental Sensors (with Open University), Flight Operations at National Space Centre

Max Planck Institüt fur Aeronomie Lindau Germany: Sample Handling and Distribution System for GAP

Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) UK, Space-X Switzerland, University of Leicester UK: Stereo Camera System

DLR Cologne Germany: Sampling Mole (PLUTO (Planetary Underground Tool))

Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Leicester UK: Rock Corer Grinder

Max Planck Institüt fur Aeronomie Lindau Germany, Space-X Switzerland, University of Leicester UK: Microscope

University of Mainz Germany: Mossbauer Spectrometer

Aberystwyth University UK: Robotic Arm Calibration and Operations Planning

Industrial Companies Involved in Beagle 2

EADS Astrium Ltd (now Airbus Defence and Space): Industrial prime contractor responsible for:

  • Programme management of around 50 subcontractors (80% UK)
  • System engineering and AIV
  • Design & development of lander structure, solar panel substrate and probe back cover
  • Design, development, manufacture and test of:

Common electronics and harness, Instrument arm, Main hinge, Solar panel hinges

Clampband, Pyro & frangi bolt unit

  • Design of main parachute


AEA Technology

Mechanism support and battery


Spin up and ejection mechanism


Pilot parachute


Parachute support

ILC Dover

Gas filled bag


Aeroshell release mechanism

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Vibration testing

Irvin Aerospace

Parachute testing and assistance with design


Initiators & AGS cutters

Cape Engineering

Mass dummies




Thermal design/test

Cinch Connectors


Kendall Hyde

Gold plating

RA Rodrigues

Bearings in instrument arm

Cranfield Impact Centre

Impact modelling

Laser International


Roke Manor Research

Radar altimeter trigger


Back cover manufacture

Leafield Engineering


Saint Engineering


DBC Tools


Lindstrand Balloons

Parachute manufacture




Front shield & back cover thermal protection


Probe & common software


Lander software



Martin Baker

EDLS consultants


Heatshield structures



Maxon Motors




Fluid Gravity

Entry aerodynamic analysis

McLaren Composites

Lander structure manufacture


Solar array (electrical)

General Dynamics

Airbag gassing system

Model Models



PDD cartridge

G&H Technology

Umbilical connector


Solid modelling

Warberry Communications

RF electronics


Harmonic drive

Northern Engineering


W S Atkins

Airbag impact analysis

Hubert Noehren

Parachute consultant

Pall Aerospace

HEPA filter


Hybrid Technology

Plasma processing




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