UPDATE 2: Good News for Phobos-Grunt

UPDATE 2: Good News for Phobos-Grunt

UPDATE 2:  Anatoly Zak at RussianSpaceWeb.com quotes Russian space news source Novosti Kosmonavtiki as saying that ESA received telemetry from Phobos-Grunt on the spacecraft’s most recent pass over ESA’s ground station in Australia and it has been sent to Phobos-Grunt spacecraft manufacturer NPO Lavochkin for analysis.  The pass was from 20:21-20:28 GMT (3:21-3:28 pm EST).  Next pass is 21:53-22:03 GMT (4:53-5:03 pm EST.)


UPDATE:  ESA has provided some of the detail on how they succeeded in contacting Phobos-Grunt and when the next opportunity is expected.

ORIGINAL STORY:  The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that it established contact with Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft that has been stranded in Earth orbit since launch on November 8.

The ESA announcement is as follows:

23 November 2011

On Tuesday, 22 November at 20:25 UT, ESA’s tracking station at Perth, Australia, established contact with Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft. The contact with the Mars mission was lost shortly after launch on 8 November. ESA teams are working closely with engineers in Russia to determine how best to maintain communication with the spacecraft. More news will follow later.

Phobos-Grunt is designed to collect a sample of Mars’s moon Phobos and return it to Earth.  According to various officials, the launch window for the spacecraft to make that two-way trip closed on Monday, but a one-way trip would still be possible.  The spacecraft also carries a small Chinese spacecraft intended to orbit Mars and an experiment from The Planetary Society.

More news as it becomes available.

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