Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt falls in Pacific Ocean
Monday, January 16, 2012
Thespacecraft fell into the Pacific Ocean some 1,250 kilometers west of , yesterday after circling in for two months. The spacecraft was designed to retrieve soil samples from the largest moon of , , but its engines failed and it had remained in Earth orbit ever since.
According to the(Roscosmos), the spacecraft was in a near-Earth orbit with 113.8 km and 133.2 km at 8.15 p.m. yesterday. It fell into the Pacific ocean around 9.45 p.m.
Predictions had varied on whether any segments would reach the Earth's surface, and it is still unknown whether any did so. People fromand reported sighting the spacecraft glowing bright orange as it passed eastwards.
Russian authorities plan to determine the reasons behind the accident. The failure of the mission is being considered as a major setback in Russia’s interplanetary programme. Vadim Lukashevich, a space expert, commented, "Five and half billion rubles and all the hopes of Russian space science for a revival… today burn up without any glory in the earth’s atmosphere."
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