November 12, 2011

Russian Mars Probe Stuck in Earth Orbit

Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission, which was designed to return samples of a Mars moon to Earth, remained stuck in Earth orbit as of Nov. 11.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos acknowledged in a Nov. 9 statement that Phobos-Grunt failed to ignite its on-board engines and became stuck in Earth orbit. Roscosmos added that it would attempt radio contact with the spacecraft late Nov. 9 Moscow time and try to “re-enable the main engines.” As of press time Nov. 11, Roscosmos had posted no further update. U.S. Strategic Command’s Space-Track website projected Nov. 10 that Phobos-Grunt would re-enter Earth’s atmosphere Nov. 26 if the spacecraft remained in its current orbit. More @ Space News

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can any knowledgeable reader inform me if Phobos-Grunt would have been visible from Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England on the morning of 15/01/2012 (6:07:38 - 6:09:02).

I have CCTV footage, using a TV zoom lense, of an object gaining in magnitude, then waining as it disappears over the rooftops at the rear of my home.

Definintely not an aeroplane, helicopter, or the like. Direction was, I think, roughly east to west.

Thank you in advance.