Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/02 12:04 CST
After modifying two antennas and attempting to send commands to Phobos-Grunt for weeks without success, ESA has made the decision to stop tracking support.
Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/12/01 04:05 CST
In this update on the Dawn mission, project system engineer Marc Rayman reports that the probe is headed for its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO), where it will focus on making a census of the atomic constituents and on mapping the gravity field in order to determine Vesta's interior structure.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/11/30 10:24 CST
Opportunity roved toward the end of its eighth year of exploration on the Red Planet and chalking up yet another "exciting" textbook discovery for the Mars mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 11:29 CST
On Tuesday, November 22 at 20:25 UTC, a European Space Agency ground station in Perth, Australia, successfully made brief radio contact with Phobos-Grunt.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/14 06:37 CST
I said I wasn't going to post again unless the spacecraft talked to us, but I changed my mind because finally there were official comments today about the status of the mission from Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/11/08 02:12 CST
I am ecstatic to report that at 20:16 UTC, millions of passengers on board the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule launched into space inside the Phobos Sample Return (also known as Phobos Grunt or Phobos Soil) spacecraft.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 08:00 CST
Russia's Phobos-Grunt sample return spacecraft, carrying the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment, plus China's Yinghuo-1 Mars minisatellite, are poised for launch at Baikonur! The launch window opens in less than six hours, at 20:16 UTC.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 03:24 CDT
About a week after Curiosity passed through the same milestone, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 -- still slated for a November 8 launch -- were encapsulated in their payload fairing in preparation for being stacked on their rocket. And, of course, our little Phobos LIFE capsule is inside there too!
Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/11/03 01:48 CDT
Dawn has completed another wonderfully successful phase of its exploration of Vesta, studying it in unprecedented detail during the past month.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/11/02 04:20 CDT
The Chinese spacecraft Shenzhou 8 docks with space station Tiangong 1, on the same day a Progress resupply capsule arrives at the International Space Station.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/10/31 11:24 CDT
Opportunity roved on this month, driving alongside the rim of Endeavour Crater toward the northern end of Cape York in search of more science gold and a place to hunker down for winter.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/25 04:26 CDT
For a few weeks over November and December, a rare launch window to Mars opens, and then slams shut agin. Mars launch windows only happen once each 26 months, so if you miss the window, you have to wait more than two years for the next one.
I know I just posted about Phobos-Grunt on Friday, but there are lots of new pictures from Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russia's main launch facility in Kazakhstan) showing Phobos-Grunt being removed from its shipping crate and tipped upright in preparation for its launch in early November.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/17 07:44 CDT
It should give you a feeling of déjà vu: a defunct satellite's orbit is decaying, and because that orbit is circular it's going to be impossible to predict where and when along its ground track it's going to happen.