Phobos-Grunt and Phobos LIFE, with Yinghuo-1, have launched!
Posted by Bruce Betts
08-11-2011 14:12 CST
The spacecraft successfully separated from the second stage of the rocket 688 seconds after launch. Right now, the spacecraft is orbiting Earth. That's right: we've achieved BUGS IN SPACE! Two more rocket burns will be required to send them on their way to Mars' moon Phobos. We aren't out of the woods yet, but it's a great start. Phobos-Grunt will do a 10-minute burn at 22:55, jettison tanks, then do a 17-minute burn at 01:02 UTC to set off to Mars. If all goes well, it will enter Mars orbit late in 2012, land on Mars' moon Phobos in early 2013, and return samples of Phobos and our Phobos LIFE biomodule in the summer of 2014.
Thanks to Planetary Society members whose generosity made this project possible, and to our many partners participating in the project. This launch comes after years of planning and effort.
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