Mars Probe

The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft was put in orbit on Wednesday, but failed to fire the engine that was designed to take it on to the Red Planet.

Engineers have been using tracking stations around the globe in an attempt to talk to the probe and diagnose its problems – but without success.

Europe has offered Russia its assistance.

The European Space Agency Spacecraft Operations Centre (Esoc) in Darmstadt, Germany, is now involved in trying to establish a link, using its antennas in French Guiana, the Canary Islands and on the Spanish mainland.

The US space agency (Nasa) has also offered to do anything that might bring the wayward craft under full control.

Doug McCuistion, Nasa’s director of Mars exploration, told reporters in a briefing about its own forthcoming Red Planet venture, the Curiosity rover: “We have offered assistance and if they need it, we will provide it to the best of our ability.”

Phobos-Grunt launched successfully on its Zenit rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and was dropped off into an elliptical orbit with an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 345km.

It was then expected to initiate two firings on its big cruise stage, one to lift it higher in the sky and the second to despatch it to Mars. Neither burn occurred.

So far, the repeated passes of Phobos-Grunt over ground stations have failed to yield any telemetry.

from- bbc.co.uk

Gokul Jegarakshagan 

 Jegarakshagan Gokul

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