facebook
twitter
search
search

Counterfeit chips possible in mission fail

Jan. 31, 2012 at 5:24 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The failure of a unmanned Russian space mission to Mars possibly was caused by the malfunction of counterfeit chips in the craft's computer, officials say.

Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos, said heavy charged particles in space might have affected the suspect chips, causing two parts of the on-board computer system of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft to unexpectedly reboot, ITAR-Tass reported Tuesday.

This rebooting caused the spacecraft to switch to a low-power, energy-saving mode with a subsequent failure of the craft's engines to fire and send it on its way to Mars, he said.

Popovkin said he was not ruling out the possibility the chips failed because they were, in fact, counterfeit.

The chips were less expensive than those used in earlier spacecraft because they were imported, he said.

That led to suspicions of counterfeit chips, he said, noting both NASA and the U.S. Defense Department have conducted investigations over counterfeiting of such products.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Chelsea Clinton accidentally calls Bernie 'President Sanders'
Watch every star-studded Super Bowl commercial of 2016
Susan Sarandon responds to Piers Morgan criticizing cleavage
Two Virginia Tech students plotted 13-year-old's death, prosecutors said
Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice got classified email on private accounts