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Emily LakdawallaOctober 14, 2011

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

Фобос-Грунт is getting ready for launch!

Russia's Phobos sample return mission and the Chinese Mars orbiter that will ride piggyback on it to Mars will soon be shipped to Baikonur cosmodrome to get ready for a launch that is currently planned for 20:16 UTC on November 7, according to an unmannedspaceflight.com visitor. The spacecraft's main propulsion module was already shipped, two weeks ago, according to Roscosmos.

Following a link on that news item I found a ton of visuals about Phobos-Grunt that I'd never seen before. My favorite is the poster:

Phobos-Grunt mission poster

Roscosmos/IKI

Phobos-Grunt mission poster

Another favorite is this snapshot from a simulation of the search for the sample return capsule, which should land in August 2014. The conical capsule has no parachute; it is designed for a hard landing.

Simulated search for Phobos-Grunt sample return capsule

Roscosmos/IKI

Simulated search for Phobos-Grunt sample return capsule
A snapshot from a test of the search for the Phobos-Grunt sample return capsule. The conical capsule had no parachute; it was designed for a hard landing.

But most wonderful are a 17-minute video showing the spacecraft under construction, and an 11-minute animation showing every detail of the complex mission. I can't figure out a way to embed them here, so I'll just have to send you to the Roscosmos website. Happy weekend watching!

Read more: mission status, Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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