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Phobos-Grunt Mission to Mars

Mission Type: Lander, Sample Return
Launch Site: Baïkonour launchpad
Spacecraft Mass: 8120 kg (return vehicle: 215 kg)
Spacecraft Instruments:
1) Gas Analytic Package (GAP)
2) Manipulator instruments set
3) Gamma spectrometer
4) Neutron spectrometer
5) Infrared spectrometer
6) Laser TOF mass spectrometer
7) Secondary ions mass spectrometer
8) Thermal sensor
9) Long-wave penetrating radar
10) Seismometer
11) TV cameras
12) Optical spectrometer
13) Dust counter
14) Plasma science package
15) Solar sensor
16) Ultra stable oscillator
European Space Agency, Phobos-Grunt Description, Oct. 2004,

CNES, Phobos-Grunt Mission Profile,

Phobos-Grunt: Destination Mars in 2011, Feb. 2010,

Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission would have study Mar's moon, Phobos, as well as return soil samples to Earth in order to determine the origin and evolution of this moon. In addition to its own mission, Phobos-Grunt also carried China's first interplanetary mission to Mars called Yinghuo-1. Phobos-Grunt was be Russia's first interplanetary mission since the unsuccessful Mars 96 mission.

After an 11-month voyage to Mars, Phobos-Grunt was to begin probing Mars' magnetosphere and atmosphere. At this time, Phobos-Grunt would have released China's Yinghuo-1 orbiter into a near-equatorial, elliptical orbit.

Afterwards, Phobos-Grunt was to release a lander on Phobos to collect 200 grams of rock and dust, as well as make other experiments to study Phobos and its environment. The samples would then have been launched back to Earth in a sample return capsule for study.

The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft is in Earth orbit and did not perform its scheduled burn to begin its trajectory to Mars and both spacecraft were stranded in Earth orbit after communications failed.

Key Dates
8 Nov 2011:  Launch
Status: Unsuccessful
Fast Facts
Phobos-Grunt Facts Grunt means soil in Russian.

Phobos (right) is slowly being dragged towards Mars. In 100 million years or so Phobos will likely be shattered by stress caused by the relentless tidal forces, with the debris forming a decaying ring around Mars.

This was be Russia's first interplanetary mission since the unsuccessful Mars 96 mission.
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Last Updated: 2 Dec 2011