It was supposed to be the trip that heralded Russia as an important power in space.
The Phobos-Grunt probe had been designed to reach the Martian moon Phobos and collect soil (‘grunt’ in Russian) and return to earth. The hope would be to discover more about the moon, that has been theorized to be a captured asteroid.
The rocket also contained a Chinese satellite meant to begin orbiting Mars. Together, the mission appeared to show how the American space dream was ending and the Sino-Russian era was truly beginning after decades of false starts.
Then, trouble hit.
As the probe left the orbit, connection with the probe was lost and the rockets designed to push it towards Mars were lost.
Russia now has three days to get the probe back on course. The problem must either be a software problem or a hardware problem. Investigators are praying for the latter, as the former would be impossible to correct.
WATCH video of the launch and preparation below:
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