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Dumitru Popescu accused by Italian Space Agency of being responsible for the crush of Schiaparelli module on Mars

The Italian Space Agency accuses the European Space Agency of having entrusted the decisive test, which should have simulated entering of Schiaparelli module in atmosphere to Arca Space Corporation, an organization “without sufficient specific competences belonging to the Romanian Dumitru Popescu, La Republica wrote on Thursday on its website.

The European Space Agency concluded a contract of 1.1 million dollars with Arca Space Corporation for the test. ESA mentioned on Wednesday that the reason for module crash will be established when the internal commission set up for that finished its investigation. Preliminary conclusions were presented on Wednesday.

The crash of Schiaparelli module on Mars in October was caused by a software problem of navigation,” said Thierry Blancquaert from ESA, in charge of the mission of that module meant to test landing technology for other Mars missions.

The module crashed on October 19 on Mars after having activated its parachute at an altitude of 12 km and a speed of 1,730 km/h.

Answering the accusations of the Italian Space Agency, Dumitru Popescu told the Italian daily that “ASI should pay attention because in case it does not have evidence for its statements it will have to pay. We did everything possible: for that test we should have flown too close to the Russian base of Savastopol. Russia had just occupied Crimea and we risked to start a conflict between the Russian Federation and NATO.”

Dumitru Popescu, a graduate of Theology who interrupted space engineering studies at Bucharest Polytechnic University after 3 years, set up the Romanian Association for Aeronautics (Arca) in 1999, as a non governmental organization which came into the public eye with its participation in Google Lunar X Prize contest in 2011.

In 2014 Popescu left Romania and moved to New Mexico, USA, where Arca became Arca Space Corporation and focused on the development of products and technologies with commercial applications, such as drones and boards, the best known project being Arca Board, a board with 9 minute autonomy.