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November 09, 2011

Russian Mars mission halted by glitch in low Earth orbit

A Russian mission to retrieve samples from the Russian moon Phobos is stranded in low Earth orbit. The engine firings that consisted of two rockets did not go off as planned says Russian executives. It took hours for the Russians to realize the rocket did not go off as planned since it was planned to launch over South America where it was outside out Russian ground stations. There is a three day time span that must be adhered to before the launch fails and Phobos-Grunt is destroyed. The propulsion system of the mission itself was priced at 163 million dollars and has been used in the past to get to the high Earth orbit. Phobos-Grunt was supposed land on the surface of the moon Phobos in Feb. 2013 to study the moon with remote sensing instruments. It was expected to be back to Earth around August 2014 with half a pound of soil. This mission was very crucial to the Soviets and it is unknown what there next step of action will be if the mission cannot be rescued.

http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1111/09phobos/

Posted by zachrk at November 9, 2011 11:25 PM

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