was a Russian sample return mission to Phobos,
a moon of Planet Mars. It
first Russian interplanetary
mission since the failed Mars 96 mission. Phobos-Grunt
on 8th November
2011 on a
BREAKING NEWS: Russia's Phobos Grunt spacecraft has had
nothing but problems since launching into space on November 8, 2011. It crashed
into the Pacific Ocean at approx. 12:45 pm EST (1745 GMT) on
Sunday 15th, January 2012.
The $170 million craft was one of the heaviest and most toxic
pieces of space junk ever to crash to Earth.
The aim of the mission
1. To collect soil samples from Phobos moon and return them to
Earth for scientific research.
2. In situ and remote studies of Phobos including analysis of soil
3. To study
Planet Mars and its environment, including atmosphere and
dust storms, plasma and radiation.
mission development was led by
Babakin Science and Research Space Centre (Lavochkin).
Phobos soil sampling and downloading has been assigned to the
GEOHI RAN Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (Vernadski
Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical chemistry) and the
integrated scientific studies of Phobos and Mars by remote and
contact methods are being developed by the IKI RAN Institute
(Space Research Institute).
The mission was called Phobos-Grunt - 'grunt' means 'soil' in
* Development started in 2001 and the preliminary design was
completed in 2004.
* In August 2006, China announced that they would supply the
survey equipment for the mission.
* In September 2006, Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space
Agency said that they were planning to sign a contract with China
by the end of the year.
* The agreement (as of August 2007) included
the Chinese Yinghuo-1
spacecraft being sent together to Mars with Phobos-Grunt on
Propulsion: Electric jet propulsion
considered for this
spacecraft was launched
on 8th November
2011 on a
was scheduled to reach Mars September 2012. The Sample Return
Vehicle was scheduled to reach Earth in August 2014.
Since launching into space on
November 8, 2011 the spacecraft has been trapped in Earth orbit.
It crashed on Earth January 15, 2012. It was
the 3rd uncontrolled re-entry of a big spacecraft in the last four
months prior. NASA's 6.5-ton UARS satellite came down in September
the 2.7-ton German satellite ROSAT followed one month later in
was the first Chinese Mars mission
and weighed 115kg.
in a dual-launch with Phobos-Grunt. If launch
was successful in
2011, after a 10 – 11.5 months cruise
have entered Mars
orbit in August / September 2012.
was expected to remain
in Martian orbit for one
year. Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1
* The Babakin Science and Research Space Centre is a branch
enterprise of Lavochkin Association (Lavochkin Design Bureau), one
of Russia's leading enterprises in the development of
interplanetary spacecraft. It is named after Georgy N. Babakin,
Chief Designer of the Lavochkin Association from 1965 to 1971. He
was a founder of space-craft engineering at Lavochkin Association.
It is managed by Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency.
* The last Russian mission to Planet Mars was
orbiter. It was launched in 1996 and crashed into the Pacific
Ocean due to problems with the Proton launch vehicle. Mars 96
spacecraft was based on the
spacecraft design. Mars 96 at the time of its launch was
intended to be the heaviest interplanetary probe ever launched.
Phobos Grunt was originally planned to be launched in 2009.
Books and DVDs:
Section with various books on topics related to Planet Mars.
Includes documentaries, TV shows and movies.
Martian Moon 'could be key test': BBC
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