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Selfish Heathen
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
2011-11-24, 13:22

Possible good news followup today for Phobos Grunt: it might be salvageable albeit for a shorter mission!

Update: The European Space Agency tracking station in Perth, Australia that first contacted the Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt on Tuesday has again been in touch with the probe.

In a communication that lasted just six minutes, a clear signal from the craft allowed ESA technicians to access telemetry reports, which could help them identify what caused the engine failure that has halted the mission to Mars.

Contact with Phobos-Grunt was first established earlier this week, but the Perth station was not ready to receive data from the spacecraft, according to Russian news agency, Ria Novosti.

Having missed the window of opportunity for its flight to Mars, the probe could still be used in another research mission depending on what technicians learn from the telemetry data.

Phobos-Grunt mission scientist Alexander Zakharov said that if the spacecraft is fully operational, the best scientific mission for it would be to study a near-earth asteroid.

ESA says it will continue to try to contact the probe throughout the night.

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