Friday, November 11, 2011

Russian Phobos Grunt - Off the Mark, Possibly Finished?

According to BBC news online via The Daily Galaxy blog, Russian space agency reports that shortly after launch, the Phobos Grunt probe failed to fire its' mains to launch it towards Mars and is now:
  • stuck in an Earth orbit and that engineers have two weeks to correct the fault before the probe's batteries run out.

The probe's mission was to collect rock and dust samples from Mars' moon Phobos and bring them back for study in labs on Earth.

  • The venture is also significant because it is carrying China's first Mars satellite. Yinghuo-1 is riding piggyback on Phobos-Grunt.

Possible reason for the failure to fire may be due to the probe not being able to:

  • orientate itself in space using the stars, failed to pick them up and therefore did not execute the firings as planned.

BBC news article here


Horacio said...

And NASA wants to use these guys to send our astronauts into space? That thing looks like it was built in 1965. Maybe a bigger rubber band may do it.

Beam Me Up said...

At best it should have given them pause one would think. I would say however that, all things considered, the one thing that Russia has had reasonably good luck in launching astronauts. Soyuz is old yes, but it is tried and true tech which is just where Russian launches are at their best. The bad thing about the Phobos/Grunt was it was very advanced for Russian space exploration. Russians seem to not handle "cutting edge" all that well.