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Blog Archive

 

Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2012/02/06 05:24 CST

It appears that Phobos-Grunt was doomed before it launched on November 9, 2011. Cheap parts, design shortcomings, and lack of pre-flight testing ensured that the spacecraft would never fulfill its goals.

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Reflections on Phobos LIFE

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/01/13 10:35 CST

We explore space for the noblest goals of science and exploration, and we often persevere in spite of challenges. But space exploration is fraught with bad things happening, or, to use the technical term, ouchies. The Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE biomodule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the next few days with the rest of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

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A Tale of Two Martians

Posted by Jim Bell on 2012/01/09 11:15 CST

It's the best of times for Mars exploration because we've got three orbiters and a rover studying the Red Planet. It's also the worst of times for my Russian, European, and Chinese colleagues who were part of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

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Phobos-Grunt: all but over, a letter from IKI

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/12/09 07:14 CST

A letter sent by Lev Zelenyi, director of the Russian Space Research Institute (IKI) to participants in the Phobos-Soil project about the mission's failure.

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ESA is ending ground station support for Phobos-Grunt

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.

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Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 12:26 CST | 1 comments

Jason Davis put together this neat summary of the checkered history of Mars exploration.

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Brief contact made with Phobos-Grunt after two weeks of silence

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.

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Phobos-Grunt status, launch plus six days

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.

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Phobos-Grunt summary, three days after launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/11 02:51 CST

I can summarize the news about the last day's efforts to save Phobos-Grunt in three words: there is none. At least nothing official.

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Phobos-Grunt status, two days after launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/10 12:07 CST

When I last left Phobos-Grunt, Roscosmos had not yet commented on the results of a planned attempt to communicate with the wayward spacecraft at 19:00 UT on November 9.

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Phobos-Grunt, the morning after

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/09 09:04 CST

I repeatedly rewrote yesterday's post on the problem suffered by Phobos-Grunt after its apparently perfect Zenit launch and thought it was time to begin fresh.

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A serious problem on Phobos-Grunt

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 05:29 CST

It looks like something has gone wrong with Phobos-Grunt.

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Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!

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.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

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.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 now encapsulated in their fairing (lots of photos)

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!

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Phobos-Grunt unpacked! With Yinghuo-1 and LIFE!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/18 02:01 CDT | 1 comments

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.

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Phobos-Grunt update; lots of new images and video!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/14 05:39 CDT

Фобос-Грунт is getting ready for launch!

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Launch Window Approaching!

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/08/21 12:00 CDT

We are super excited that the Planetary Society’s Phobos LIFE (Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment) is about ready to launch to Mars’ moon Phobos and back. We have been working for years preparing this unique test of the effects of long term exposure to deep space on a wide variety of life.

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Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 have completed thermal vacuum testing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/30 02:20 CDT

The Russian Phobos sample return mission, Phobos-Grunt, has passed a key milestone in its preparation for launch: it successfully completed its thermal vacuum testing in June.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/12 10:32 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011, about what to look forward to in solar system exploration this year.

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