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Hope lost for Fobos-Grunt likely to re-entry early in New Year [View All]

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jakeXT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 03:03 AM
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Despite a small period of time where it was hoped communications and commanding might be established with the stricken Fobos-Grunt spacecraft, it now appears the Russian probes future is one which will see it head towards a fiery end, as its orbit continues decay over time. The likely scenario now points to a destructive re-entry sometime in January.


With a mass of 13,500 kilograms, Fobos-Grunt is the largest planetary spacecraft ever built in the former Soviet Union and was to be the first sample return mission to the natural satellite of another planet, and the first such mission to be conducted by Russia.


This sad event will be of great interest, given the spacecrafts 13,500 kg of mass, most of which is made up of the highly toxic propellants unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and dinitrogen tetroxide (DTO). Its mass is double that of NASAs defunct Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which re-entered in September of this year


It is currently estimated that the entry will occur sometime in January of next year, handing Russia a sad record of all of its 17 missions to the Red Planet since the 1960s resulting in failure.
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