ARCHIMEDES is an effort to probe the atmosphere of planet Mars by means of a hypersonic drag balloon, a device known as a “ballute”. The project is currently under study, proposed and supported by the Mars Society Germany, the Universität der Bundeswehr München, the AMSAT-DL .e.V. organization, the DLR, and several other research institutions and industrial companies. The probe is planned to be integrated into the AMSAT’s P5-A Mars satellite, and to be released from the spacecraft when in orbit around the planet. Launch of the P5-A is currently planned for late 2011 as a piggyback payload on an Ariane V rocket, as it is standard practice for spacecraft of the German AMSAT section. It is jointly developed by The Mars Society Germany and several institutes of the University of the Federal Armed Forces of Germany in Munich.
MIRIAM combines all research programs within the ARCHIMEDES development program, and is currently planned for launch to a 200km peak altitude from the SSC ESRANGE rocket test site near Kiruna, North Sweden on top of the REXUS4 sounding rocket managed and built by the DLR Moraba group of Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. MIRIAM's launch is now planned for October 21, 2008.