Russia: U.S. radar cleared in mission fail

Feb. 2, 2012 at 8:08 PM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Russian space agency Roscosmos says tests have ruled out the possibility U.S. radar could be linked to the failure of its Phobos-Grunt Mars probe.

In an interview with a Moscow radio station, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said an experiment showed no link between the failure of the Mars mission and the alleged electromagnetic emission from U.S. radar in the Pacific Ocean.

The radar theory had first been put forward in mid-January when unidentified space officials told a Russian business newspaper U.S. radar could have been behind the mission failure.

Popovkin has cited cosmic radiation that triggered a glitch in the on-board computer system and defective microchips imported from abroad as possible reasons for the failure of the spacecraft, which fell to Earth out of its orbit Jan. 15.

NASA had dismissed the idea of any U.S. radar involvement in the mission failure and refused to take part in the test cited by Popovkin, RIA Novosti reported.

Popovkin told RIA Novosti Tuesday Roscosmos will repeat its Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars if the European Space Agency decides not to include Russia in its planned ExoMars program.

"We are holding consultations with the ESA about Russia's participation in the ExoMars project. … If no deal is reached, we will repeat the attempt [to launch a Phobos mission]," he said.

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