MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russia may attempt to repeat its mission to Mars' moon Phobos in 2023, Lev Zeleny, the head of the Russian Space Research Institute told RIA Novosti Friday.
The Russian-led mission Phobos-Grunt (or Fobos-Grunt) was launched on November 9, 2011 but failed to leave near-Earth orbit, partially burnt up in the atmosphere, and its remains fell into the Pacific Ocean.
"For now, the second Phobos-Grunt is being planned within the framework of the Mars-Grunt project. Maybe we will work on it with Europe. A pilot project is under development right now. I do not rule out that the spacecraft will be manufactured by [Russian aerospace company] NPO Lavochkin," Zeleny said.
"If everything goes according to our plan, the mission could be launched in 2023," the head of the institute added.
Phobos-Grunt was the first Russian-led interplanetary mission since 1996. It was designed to become the first spacecraft to return a macroscopic sample from an extraterrestrial body since Luna 24 in 1976.