Posts Tagged ‘Phobos’

Phobos Grunt is dead and silent …..

November 12, 2011

Phobos-Grunt is still circling Earth at an altitude between 128 miles and 210 miles after launching Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for Mars buit is dead and silent. The jinx goes on and it is now 21 Russian missions to Mars which have failed their main mission goals:

Information from 

Soviet / Russian Mars Missions


SpaceflightNow: Major General Vladimir Uvarov, a former space expert in the Russian military, told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper he has lost optimism in Phobos-Grunt’s chances for recovery.

“In my opinion, the Phobos-Grunt probe has been lost. This probability is very high. At any rate, it is much higher than the chances for reactivating the probe,” Uvarov told the newspaper. …. 

With 11 tons of toxic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellant still in its fuel tanks, Phobos-Grunt’s potential re-entry is stirring concerns of space experts after two high-profile returns of large satellites in September and October.

Russia’s Mars jinx continues: Phobos-Grunt in big trouble; 3 days in parking orbit to fix computer problem

November 9, 2011

The jinx on Russia’s probes to Mars continues.

Phobos-Grunt launched successfully last night but failed to enter its departure trajectory when two engine burns failed – presumed due to computer problems. It is now in a “parking” orbit and the problem needs to be fixed within 3 days when its batteries will run out. The fuel tanks are still in place for the craft’s own thrusters and there is still thought to be some hope. If the problem cannot be fixed it will be the fourth successive failure of a Russian Mars mission.


Russian Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars and Phobos blasts off today

November 8, 2011

Much Russian news just now from the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic going live today to an ambitious and critical Mars mission which will launch late today (November 8th).

Russia’s last interplanetary launch of a probe to Mars in 1996  failed at launch. Prior to that in missions to the larger of Mars’ 2 moons, Phobos 1 was launched on July 7, 1988 and Phobos 2 on July 12, 1988. Communication with Phobos 1 was lost in September 1988. Phobos 2 operated normally till it was within 50m of the surface of Phobos and again communication was lost in March 1989.

In the meantime the US Mars Rover has operated on Mars for thousands of hours, Chinese and Indian probes have reached the moon and a Japanese probe has brought back some minute quantities of matter from an asteroid. The Russians have been short of financing and are now trying to regain the pre-eminence they once had. To have the Chinese planting flags on the moon in 3 or 4 years would be unbearable.

Russian missions to Mars have never yet been completely successful and the launch on November 8th as part of the Phobos-Grunt (Фобос-Грунт meaning Phobos -soil) project is carrying a great deal of Russian prestige and – more importantly – the future of the Russian space program.


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