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 Post subject: Phobos-Grunt hitch ..
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Russia's Phobos-Grunt ("Ground") probe is stuck in earth-orbit with the engines refusing to ignite to send the probe on to Mars. The aim of the probe is to collect ground samples from Phobos.
All sixteen of Russia's Mars probes since the 1960s have been partial or total failures. As we know, they did much better with their Venera probes to Venus.
A report in to-day's GUARDIAN says that technicians have just a few days to attempt to reprogramme the probe before the batteries run out.
The probe was designed by a young, relatively inexperienced, team, and 90% of the parts were not proven before launch. This was to save money. Where have we heard this before? :roll:

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Last edited by brian livesey on Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:26 pm 
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brian livesey wrote:
This was to save money. Where have we heard this before? :roll:

Hi Brian,
We've heard it too many times before.
A rather ambitious project looks set for yet another failure.
All the best
Dave
PS I wouldn't feel happy if I was aboard the ISS at this present time.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:47 pm 
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If they are unable to boost the spacecraft from its present low orbit, it
will burn up around the end of November but the final few days have
visibility for the U.K. It would be ironic if the descent occurred on November
25, which is the present date scheduled for the launch of the U.S. Mars
probe M.S.L. (Mars Science Laboratory) with the Curiosity Rover aboard.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:14 am 
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Hi,
It's not looking good for the probe, apparently they have lost communications with it and it looks set to re-enter sometime the end of November/early December. It has been observed from the ground but nothing heard by anyone.
One of the worrying things is that if the fuel tanks survive re-entry they contain around 10 tons of highly toxic propellant.
Some recent news here ..

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003257

All the best
Dave

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:17 am 
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A while ago, I read that they were having serious chemical pollution problems in the Urals or Altai mountains from spent rocket boosters.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:26 am 
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There are serious toxic problems throughout the former Soviet Union from oil spillage, chemical spillage, draining of their vast inland sea.
The environmental costs are enormous.

I suspect the Chinese are leaving the same trail of destruction from their massive uncontrolled expansion.

Regards, David


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:15 pm 
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In the link provided by Davej, Emily states
"I am frankly puzzled that anybody can state a specific date, given the uncertainties that attended the orbital decays of UARS and ROSAT."

I hope you will recall that I predicted the demise of these two satellites
with an accuracy that even surprised me.

It seems obvious that Emily does not consult this forum.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Some of us suspect, Stella, that you have a direct line to Mystic Meg. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:39 am 
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Hi,
Stella, any updates of re-entry? I know it's still early and the craft is acting rather unpredictably. Just read this interesting report ..

http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phob ... good-luck/

All the best
Dave

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:28 pm 
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Yes, Some small rocket firings (intentional or not) have disrupted the
normal atmospheric and gravitational decay of its orbit.
I therefore withdraw my prediction of its demise at the end of November,
and can only state that its end is likely in the December-January period.
There will be evening visibility during the last few days of November,
and first week of December for U.K. observers (especially in southern
Britain).


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:43 am 
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Even Mystic Meg doesn't always get it right! It must have been a bad line. Does this mean that the probe is now beyond redemption?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Four small objects have been detected originating from Phobos-Grunt and in
similar orbits but with apogees around 500 km, rather higher than the main
object. With perigees around 200 km, these object will decay rather rapidly.
We can be sure that speculation about the identity or purpose of these objects will be rife (or will they remain mystical?)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:33 pm 
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stella wrote:
Four small objects have been detected originating from Phobos-Grunt and in
similar orbits but with apogees around 500 km, rather higher than the main
object. With perigees around 200 km, these object will decay rather rapidly.
We can be sure that speculation about the identity or purpose of these objects will be rife (or will they remain mystical?)


Hi,
As you say stella just wait till the media (or some of it) get hold of this :wink:
All the best
Dave

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:06 pm 
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Hi,
As was probably expected the last chance for the probe has finally gone now the final 'window' has been and gone today.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/11/21/ ... ses-today/

All the best
Dave

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:26 am 
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The European Space Agency's ground station in Perth has received signals from the probe. The ESA is working closely with the Russian engineers to try to work out a solution.
Shortly before the probe malfunctioned, Russian control was able to deploy the solar panels on the 13.5 tonne craft, which compensates for the batteries running down.
Interestingly, Phobos-Grunt carries a small Chinese satellite that is intended to go into Mars orbit.

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