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ESA Ends Attempts To Pick Up Phobos-Grunt Signals 40

Posted by timothy
from the sticking-with-smoke-signals-for-now dept.
Spaceflight Now reports that hope has faded in the attempts to hear from the troubled Phobos-Grunt probe, and the listening project has been shuttered. After the craft's launch, says the article, "ESA continued trying to establish communications this week with tracking stations in Australia and the Canary Islands, but the 29,000-pound Phobos-Grunt spacecraft never responded. ... The agency's communications site in Perth, Australia, contacted Phobos-Grunt at least twice Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, but the probe has remained mysteriously silent since then." (Similar coverage also at the BBC.) See RussianSpaceWeb.com for a more detailed timeline.
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ESA Ends Attempts To Pick Up Phobos-Grunt Signals

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  • QC vs FSB (Score:2, Insightful)

    Still a few quality control problems. Perhaps Mr. Putin should focus on things that will help grow Russia's future rather than its war machine and faded empire. Besides, it's China that is more likely to take Siberia away from them.
    • Re:QC vs FSB (Score:4, Informative)

      by toxygen01 (901511) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @06:03AM (#38248608) Journal

      When the tests of the flight sequence finally started, the flight control system reportedly was not able to score a single clean run of its entire flight program without experiencing some sort of problems.

      http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_2011.html#bku [russianspaceweb.com]


      So onboard computer which controls the flight basically did not pass any pre-flight test. "Let's try, if it fails also in real, not only during testing..."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "As a time-cutting measure, the spacecraft developers reportedly discussed the possibility of launching the spacecraft with only partially completed flight software. The rest of the code responsible for later phases of the mission could be uploaded into the spacecraft's memory en-route."

        Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "As a time-cutting measure, the spacecraft developers reportedly discussed the possibility of launching the spacecraft with only partially completed flight software. The rest of the code responsible for later phases of the mission could be uploaded into the spacecraft's memory en-route."

          Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

          Well, if it cuts cost enough to be able to afford a second try it is.

      • Re:QC vs FSB (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @11:55AM (#38250106) Homepage

        That is an incredibly damning report. No prototype. Minimal testing. Rewiring the steering controls (and I mean soldering and unsoldering) while the fueled craft is on the pad. Whatcouldpossiblygowrong? If that report is to be believed, hell, if half of it is to be believed, there is no way that probe would have made it there.

        One thing that really bothers me - no description of sterilizing the craft. In fact, if you're rewiring on the pad, that implies that it's not sterile (and your staff isn't particularly sane). It's fine if the Russians want to play around blowing up things around earth. It's what humans do - but it would be much better if they behaved responsibly.

  • in space, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:38AM (#38248370) Homepage Journal
    no one can hear you grunt
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:54AM (#38248404)

    Controller: ". . . Phobos . . . ? Hello, . . . Phobos . . . ? . . . "

    Phobos: No response

    Controller: " . . . Phobos . . . is it something I said . . . ? . . . "

    Phobos: No response

    Controller: "Listen, if you don't tell me what's wrong . . . I can't do anything about it . . .Phobos . . . ?"

    Phobos: No response

    Controller: "I tried to call you . . . really . . . many times . . . but you didn't answer . . . "

    Phobos: No response

    Controller: "Look, I know what you're thinking, but that Chinese Probe means nothing to me. I was just monitoring it . . . Phobos . . . ?"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was in the control room here in Darmstadt when this conversation was ongoing. It's never a happy moment when you stop trying, but that's nearly 4 weeks now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    for another 15 years, just like Mars96 did.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_96

  • ...the Leather Goddesses got it.

  • by iONiUM (530420) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:59AM (#38249170) Homepage Journal

    This sounds strangely familiar..

  • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @11:44AM (#38250012)

    From satellite orbit data posted at http://www.n2yo.com/?s=37872 [n2yo.com] I'm estimating it will re-enter in the first few days of January. Current decay rate is 1 km per day in average altitude from an orbit that is 215 km low x 310 km high points. This will double in about 14 days as it encounters thicker atmosphere, with doubling times cut in half each 20 km of height until it hits 120 km or so on it's last orbit. Since it has a large amount of fuel in tanks not protected by heat shields, it will a unique and spectacular "rapid disassembly" whenever reentry heating causes the tanks to fail. My best guess is around 80 km altitude.

  • It really would be nice to see samples come back. My guess is that the next real choice will be around 2018 by America with red dragon. I would not be the least bit surprised if we send a small probe to phobos and diemos to grab samples. IDEALLY, we would grab from mars surface as well.
  • This is why we need to re-establish our new space crafts. We had them all set up to go and then....NO!! No funding for you. It would create jobs with the manufacturing, and best of all could create revenue with other countries paying us to shoot their stuff into space. Instead we have to rely on these yahoos to shoot it up for us...We're doomed.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

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