facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Russian Mars mission misses orbit

Nov. 9, 2011 at 4:37 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A Russian Mars probe launched early Wednesday failed to reach its intended orbit after separation from the launch vehicle, Russia's Federal Space Agency said.

The Phobos-Grunt probe that lifted off from the Baikonur space center atop a Zenit-2 rocket was supposed to use its own booster to reach the designated orbital trajectory but failed to do so, RIA Novosti reported.

"It has been a tough night for us because we could not detect the spacecraft [after the separation]," Roskomos head Vladimir Popovkin said. "Now we know its coordinates and we found out that the [probe's] engine failed to start.

"We will attempt to reboot the program. The spacecraft is currently on a support orbit, the fuel tanks have not been jettisoned and the fuel has not been spent."

Technicians have three days to start the on-board engine and put the probe on it proper trajectory before the batteries run out, he said.

The ambitious $163 million Phobos-Grunt mission is meant to bring back soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos in 2014 to pave the way for the exploration of the Red Planet.

Grunt in Russian means "soil."

The spacecraft carries 20 instruments designed to gather and transmit data from the vicinity of Mars and from the surface of Phobos.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Astronomers discover worst-smelling comet in space Astronomers discover worst-smelling comet in space
5
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback