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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

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.

Official Phobos-Grunt Failure Report Released

Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has released its official report concerning the failure of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which fell back to Earth from orbit on January 15 after failing to ignite the engines that were to take it to the largest Martian moon.

Watch this week's Google+ Space Hangout

This week's lineup is a largely astronomical crowd so most of the conversation concerned dark matter and boiling exoplanets and imaging the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Phobos-Grunt is no more

Phobos-Grunt has returned to Earth, a lot sooner than it should have. Yesterday, at approximately 17:45 UT, the Russian spacecraft and its passengers, including a Chinese orbiter and the Planetary Society's LIFE experiment, descended into Earth's atmosphere.

Reflections on Phobos LIFE

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.

Phobos-Grunt's upcoming demise: What we know and what we don't

I'm not looking forward to spending the weekend sitting deathwatch on Phobos-Grunt. It's not science, and it's a sad event, so my instincts would lead me to other subjects. But it contains the Planetary Society's Phobos LIFE experiment.

A Tale of Two Martians

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.

Phobos-Grunt status, launch plus six days

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.

Phobos-Grunt status, two days after launch

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.

Phobos-Grunt, the morning after

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.

Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 poised for liftoff

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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