Not Giving Up Yet: ESA Resumes Effort to Communicate with Phobos-Grunt
by on DECEMBER 7, 2011
Artist concept of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft. Credit Roscosmos.
Editor’s note: Dr. David Warmflash, principal science lead for the US team from the LIFE experiment on board the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, provides an update on the mission for Universe Today.
Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft is in no better position than it was a month ago, when it reached low Earth orbit on November 9 yet failed to ignite the upper stage engine that was to propel it to Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two small moons. Indeed, with an orbit measuring 204.823 kilometers at perigee (the low point) and 294.567 kilometers at apogee as of today, the spacecraft is well on its well to a fiery reentry through Earth’s atmosphere in early January if it cannot be rescued in the intervening time. But the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, is not ready to give up on the probe yet, and have asked ESA to resume trying to contact Phobos-Grunt.
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