Mars Orbiter Has Three Days to Relaunch Space Program
The Chinese Mars orbiter and Russian Mars probe that were launched apparently failed to reach its intended orbit. The failed launched was traced back to a malfunction that occurred when the Phobos Grunt probe separated from Zenit – 2SB launch vehicle when it failed to ignite its booster after reaching its designated flying orbit.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos mission control, lost contact with the probe during the separation but since the agency has the coordinates they can now retrieve and find out why the engine failed to start. When the probe separated from Zenit-2SB it was suppose to fly in a low Earth orbit, and after two ignitions of its sustainer engine it was suppose to fly in its designated trajectory in order for it to reach Mars.
Reports showed that the two ignitions didn’t occur. The Russian space controls and the United States systems found the spacecraft in orbit and that it had not jettisoned its fuel tanks an that the spacecraft had entered a support orbit. With the window for the probe to reach Phobos closing quickly, Russian mission control has only three days to find a software solution to get the mission back on track.
The main purpose of the Space mission was to bring back the first soil sample from Phobos, one of Mars’ moons and the largest one of the two. The Phobos Grunt probe was suppose to reach Mars by 2012, deploy its lander to Phobos in 2013 and bring back a soil sample to Earth by August of 2014.