Posted on Wednesday, 9 November, 2011 | 27 comments| News tip by: Atlantia
Image credit: Roscosmos
Russia's new $170M Phobos-bound spacecraft suffered equipment failure within minutes of lifting off.
While the initial stages of the launch went as planned, the probe was meant to fire its engines twice around 11 minutes later but never did. Now the spacecraft is stuck in Earth's orbit and engineers have around three days to repair the fault before its batteries run out. At 13.2 tons the Phobos-Grunt probe is the heaviest interplanetary spacecraft ever built and represents what was hoped to be a triumphant return to space exploration by Russia's space agency.
"A daring Russian mission to fly an unmanned probe to Phobos, a moon of Mars, and fly samples of its soil back to Earth was derailed right after its launch by equipment failure."