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Russia was well aware of Phobos-Grunt mission risks - space chief

Topic: Phobos-Grunt spacecraft

Phobos-Grunt
04:43 10/01/2012
MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti)
Tags: Phobos-Grunt, Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin

Phobos-Grunt, a failed Russian sample mission to a Martian moon, was launched despite risks of which Russian scientists were well aware, the head of the Russian space agency said on Tuesday.

Phobos-Grunt, Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades, was launched on November 9 but it was lost due to propulsion failure and stuck in the low-earth orbit. It is expected to fall back to Earth on January 15, presumably in Afghanistan.

Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, said in an interview with the Izvestia daily that even if Russia hadn't lost the mission, it would still lose five billion rubles ($157 million).

“We were hostages to previously made decisions, we had commitments to the European Space Agancy, which provided equipment, and to our Chinese colleagues as we undertook the task of delivering their satellite to Mars onboard Phobos-Grunt,” Popovkin said.

It took too long to build the spacecraft, he said, and the life span of many parts was about to expire. The project officially began in 1999.

The Russian space chief said he had no explanation to frequent space project failures, which have plagued the Russian space industry in the past years.

“I don’t want to make any accusations, but today there is powerful equipment to influence spacecrafts, and the possibility of their use should not be ruled out,” he said.

 

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RIA NovostiPhobos-GruntRussia was well aware of Phobos-Grunt mission risks - space chief

04:43 10/01/2012 Phobos-Grunt, a failed Russian sample mission to a Martian moon, was launched despite risks of which Russian scientists were well aware>>

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  • ruypenalvaHe should be more clear as to his comments
    06:19, 10/01/2012
    Mr. Popvkin should be more clear,explicit, regarding his last comments:
    “I don’t want to make any accusations, but today there is powerful equipment to influence spacecrafts, and the possibility of their use should not be ruled out,”.
    What kind of equipment are these? Who possess and could use them? That interference (as in Bulava launches) did come from USA?
    In any case, Russia should monitor better its launches to detect any possible magnetic, laser, eletronic interference coming from alien source. Russia spaces forces are at risk, witches there really exist.
  • ArmenianThese incidents need to be thoroughly investigated
    02:47, 13/01/2012
    I hope the GRU/FSB are looking closely into these incidents. I find it odd that just when Russia was gaining acknowledgment and respect around the world for being more effective than the United States in space travel, these mishaps suddenly began occuring. The first thing I would start investigating is the personnel and firms working for or in Russia's space industry.

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