MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's failed Phobos-Grunt Mars moon probe project could be given a second chance in 2022-25, space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.
The probe was designed to bring back rock and soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos. However, it was stuck in a so-called support orbit after its engines failed to put it on course for the Red Planet. It crashed in the Pacific Ocean on January 15, 2012 after two months in orbit.
“That [repeat of the mission] will apparently take place in 2002-2025,” Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences Presidium.
He also said Roscosmos is planning to orbit one new space observatory every few years.
The first observatory will be the Spektr-R, due to be launched in 2019. Prior to that, two other Spektr satellites will be orbited, one in 2014 and the other in 2016, Popovkin said.
According to NASA, Russia has failed in all 17 of its attempts to study the Red Planet close-up since 1960. The most recent failure before the November accident occurred in 1996, when Russia lost its Mars-96 orbiter during launch.