Mars Express will be the first "flexible mission" in the revised ESA
long-term scientific program and is planned to be launched towards Mars
in June 2003 with a Soyuz/Fregat launcher. The spacecraft will carry
a remote observation payload with some heritage from European instruments
lost on the ill-fated Russian Mars 96 mission, as well as a lander communications
package to support Mars lander missions from 2003 to 2007.